If you ask people what their favorite sound is, often you will hear: “the sound of my child’s laugh, or “the rain.” For me, it is the sound of my dog’s crunching their food. It signifies vibrancy and contentment. I welcome it every time and it never fails to create an inner smile in the deepest part of my being. I also love the sound of my daughter’s voices, not to mention their deep and throaty laughs. I got to thinking; some of the very best things in life have nothing to do with technology or the trappings of a fast-paced world.
It took me a long time to even own a Facebook, and I’ll admit to owning an I-phone, but don’t ask me about what apps I have because I pretty much use it to text and talk. I am a dinosaur, to a degree, and I don’t really mind it. How do all of us, young or old, embrace a new level of capabilities, expectations, and opportunities that this new age offers? I say, tempered with humility.
I hope that by the time the coming generations that will never have known life without a computer, cell phone, ipad, kindle, or any other technological devices that bring instantaneous feedback, will experience the ethics and manners that need to catch up to it. For the baby boomers, like me, we remember things like life without a cell phone or text messaging. It wasn’t nearly as easy to communicate as it is now, but we what did have to learn were patience. We had to plan ahead, strategize a little at times and wait. Those life skills have value. Do I love my cell phone? Absolutely, but it isn’t an appendage.
The art of the thank you card, chosen in a store after perusing selections for just the right one, taking the time to write it in long hand and sending it out, is not gone but is often considered an inconvenience. If we are being honest, who doesn’t still like to go to the mailbox and receive a heartfelt card from a grateful loved one? So, maybe we need to be the one who sends it and gives that feeling to someone we care about. And, conversations. Sitting with a friend or family member is still highly valued by most people; looking into their eyes and reading body language that assists us in maintaining the flow of a connection. But, it is often taking a back seat to a quick text or email. Let’s face it, both can often become misunderstood and cause unintended consequences.
Social media has its place but it has allowed people to lose their humility. Rudeness that never would have happened between people of differing beliefs or viewpoints if they had to communicate openly and perhaps in person is commonplace. Posting photos to intentionally hurt someone, to have them feel left out or even create jealousy, is so easy to do that I wonder if those who do so forgot just what bad behavior it is, or if they were never taught in the first place? Self- promotion of many kinds has permeated the soul of our constituency; it just depends on the level.
Humility reminds us to be interested in others, to let accomplishments and feats stand on their own rather than the endless need or maybe even perceived expectation these days that you must share everything in order to keep up. “Look at me” just doesn’t have quite the ring to it that “I see you” does.
It’s not that the old days were the best days, but I just feel we as individuals and as a society have to take a minute. Slowing down doesn’t mean losing ground. Stepping into our actual lives rather than the ones created through technology and social media sounds like progress to me.