Human beings are wired for connection, My honest belief is that the reason we exist is to connect with other people. I have just returned from a delightful little jaunt to a neighboring state to spend some time with a close friend that I have known since college, her amazing husband that has also become a friend and their two adorable children whom I adore with my whole heart. The reason my heart is so full today is because making connections like that is a part of my joy.
This gal and I have known each other for a long time. Seriously, 20 years, which is a little humbling to admit because it shocks me into realizing my age. She is one of my favorite humans on the planet and the beauty of our friendship is that we can allow long periods of time to pass between connecting and when the time comes to do so, it is as if not time has passed at all. We don’t text super frequently and only get to see each other a few times a year, but certainly make the most of that time. We are both busy. We ae in that time in our lives where careers and kids are taking precedence and friendships appear to be secondary to some of these other ever present things in our lives. But when we are together, that connection is genuine and strong.
We were having this conversation this past weekend while pouring over old photos (ones that were printed out in a envelope and stored in a box, not on a phone) and reminiscing about our younger days-discussing how much fun we have had during our friendship. We were telling stories to our husbands about trips we have taken and friends that we have shared when I realized that neither one of us had our phones in our hands. In fact, neither one of us had our phones in sight if I am being honest. When we spend time together, we spend time face-to-face and without technology. We often joke that we don’t even take photos when we are together because we are so busy just engaging in connecting. And these are the connections that are truly lasting, the genuine and authentic relationships that we can pour ourselves into because the other party is doing the same.
Technology is absolutely here to stay and nearly every person I know has a phone, tablet, computer, watch, etch that accesses technology and all of these things are wonderful. I would never be able to find a new place without GPS. I really enjoy listening to audio books while I drive and I am so grateful that I can time my washing machine so that it does not start the load of laundry until one hour before I return home from work. Technology has done some incredible things in our lives and has moved us forward in ways that I cannot even describe, but what seems to be happening is that we are allowing it to replace connection rather than supplement it.
I could go on for days about how technology is impacting connection, and there will be future posts about the topic, but I think that the most important take-a-way is that we need to start being intentional about making connections that are outside of technology. We need to start being intentional about talking to kids about making connections that are outside of technology and we need to be intentional about helping kids to learn how to navigate this world that is full of unregulated and endless technology that encourages us to keep scrolling or just watch one more episode.
I have a challenge for you. Choose one evening this week and put away your technology. Turn off your phone when you get home, DVR that show you can’t miss (or just put off your Netflix binge), don’t check your email after you get home and just be with the human beings in your life. Have conversations, make dinner together, read a book, play a game. Just one evening a week and see how you feel about the connections you make. If it feels good for you, keep doing it every week. If you miss a week, get back on the wagon the one that follows. Be intentional. Be consistent. Be connected.