Communication is the name of the game. It’s good to talk, they say. However, with life’s fast pace and technology overload, it’s sometimes difficult to do the one thing we are inherently programmed to do. Although I have always prided myself on daily conversations with my loved ones, just lately, well…
I say pride as all too often, in my job, I see and hear about children and adults failing to talk. Young adults (and older ones) who spend more time on a screen than in the real world. Kids who seem to know more about the life and times of Youtubers such as Jake Paul, than their parent/siblings day.
So I say pride…Unfortunately, just recently, I’m as bad as the YouTube generation. Just lately I’ve begun to lose, not only touch with friends, but my really best ones. Life has taken a hold and it’s crushing every bit of time from me. So, I made a decision – I pulling it back! But it’s bloody tiring…
Starting with the best place: The Family Table.
This week was bookended with family meals. Opportunities to enjoy good food and conversation with the ones I love. An assortment of available members meeting, eating and conversing around one table. However, in deepest darkest mid week trench warfare of life it was grab what you can, meet who you can and on Thursday and Friday I was brought to you by the power of maomn (not my finest moment). Last night I cooked an Indian feast and right now the meat is marinating for the Sunday roast. At some point I will drag the children into it. I shall get them making yorkie puds and dessert. I’ll text any missing members to tell them the nights menu. And it’s exhausting and it takes it all my free time. But, this is the crafty bit: not only do I distract them from antisocial behaviour, I too get to spend quality time with them. Whether it’s the process of creating a tasty meal or enticing them to the main event with the promise of sumptuous flavoursome food, it doesn’t matter, the ritual of preparing, cooking and consuming brings people together and with it brings talk.
Our family table has and will always be the heart of our home. Even as a child we’d sit, chat, eat and enjoy the camaraderie around the table. Whether at home or at Nana’s we’d just embrace the gathering. Sometimes, especially a Sunday, it would be the only time we would actually sit and eat together. This is something I’ve tried to embed into our home life over the years. It’s an unwritten rule that phones, tablets and even the television aren’t to be consumed at the dinner table (pet hate and adults are as bad as kids). The food is to be enjoyed and (mostly) it has been cooked with love and happiness.
The only thing we do allow is music. This is one of the other aspects of igniting discussion. It can trigger memories, create debate on culture and diversity (if I ever mentioned this they’d say ‘god mum stop trying to educate us and roll their eyes – crafty you see). It’s about teaching them to converse, socialise in a healthy manner, being able to hold an interesting conversation (this is something I struggle with in a social situation as a) I get embarrassed, and b) I think people wouldn’t want to listen to me as I’m boring, and c) just think I’m disliked in general so don’t go anywhere ‘The Fear’). To feel confident in discussing their theories and ideas in a safe environment. And you know what? I’ve some very intelligent and clever girls (not that they’d allow this to be actually seen by their friends as that’s not cool). The musicality is also good for a sing or rap (the girls are very good in a rap battle). All this enriches their knowledge banks and (hopefully) gives them aspirations for the future. A future they have to navigate in a difficult, technological and complex world.
Now, as antisocial phones at a table are, it does allow us to communicate in other ways. I text people messages of love, support and although I know I’m a shit friend, I try to let people know I do think about them. I send people articles I think they might like, tag them in stuff they might find cute and interesting. That’s the beauty of the technology we are now able to share something with our best friends immediately – instant reaffirmation how special they are to us. My current personal target is to make sure I communicate more this way. Although I hide my phone (this is so I can connect with the real world as much as possible) when at home, I have begun to allow myself some time to message and talk to my friends online. Therefore, when I’ve finished this, and whilst the children are quiet, I’m going to catch up with some correspondence. This whole thought makes me feel both nostalgic and slightly sad for times past. At one time I’d I have sat down with my writing set , a la Elizabeth Bennet, and started penning letters (my favourite pastime) to all sorts of interesting people I’ve met over the years. I had friends I wrote to in Iceland. Italy, France and Malta. Now? Just a message on Facebook. Oh how I wish I could reconnect with those I lost touch with.
Speaking of which, Rosie Dog is also suffering from my recent shoddiness regarding time and communication. For a rather large white and black liver faced dog, she certainly is very needy. GSPs suffer from separation anxiety and need constant love and attention. Her sad little face by Wednesday says it all ‘have you forgotten about me and the promises you made?’ It asks. But, and this is another sneaky secret, what none of them realise is, that needy doggy enables us quality time together on a daily basis. Whether it’s shared cuddles or walks, she gives us time to chat and think – keeping those lines open.
On that note, I’ve quite a bit to do…happy Sunday xx