I’m a communicator. That’s my love language. I ask my husband and my kids hundreds of questions to try to spark conversation and I usually end up with one-word answers. You wouldn’t think it if you met my husband because he really can talk, but he has a quiet side and that’s usually what shows up at home. Now, if you met my two oldest boys you’d quickly see that what I say is true. They’re great kids, and can have really intelligent dialogue when they’re in the right mood, but most days they aren’t and all I can squeeze out are answers like ‘fine’ and ‘good’ to ‘how was your day?’ This also extends to texting. I send long, detailed texts, explaining the finer details of everything, leaving nothing out only to receive something like ‘nice’ in return.
My two youngest, now they’re a different story. They chatter all day long. From the time their eyes open in the morning to the time they go to bed at night, and sometimes the occasional sleep talking session occurs. It’s nice that half the family takes after me and half after their Dad. Don’t get me wrong, we have healthy relationships with each other, we just aren’t all talkers. I have found that the quiet tribe in our household listen well, they hear what’s being said, they are involved in life, just not commenting on everything as I am.
What I noticed while having a coffee break at a local restaurant the other day has got me thinking though. How ‘present’ are we in every day conversations with people we come in contact with? I was sitting there, on my phone checking emails, when I noticed a young family not too far away. There were three young children with their Mom and Dad, and they were waiting for their food. As the children were chatting and asking questions, it was apparent that the parents were caught up in the world through the window of their phones and were not hearing what the kids were saying to them.
That night when I got home I sat down in my chair to relax, with my phone, and started browsing Facebook, looked for bunkbeds on Kijiji, checked in with Instagram to see what was going on with friends, and pinned a few things on Pintrest that I would likely never again look at. And then I looked up. And it hit me. We were all in the living room together, but that’s where it ended. Each of us was giving full attention to the technology in our hands and no awareness of the moments were missing with each other.
I look and see how quickly my children are growing, how they’re changing and how their view of life is being formed. I don’t want to lose my influence with them. We were “wired” for relationships, first with our Heavenly Father, but then with the family we have been given. What’s replacing that though is the constant access we have to everything else, things that distract us from what really important and moments that make a difference. I started thinking, ‘Am I really training up these children in the way they should go?’ or am I lost in my own cyber world leaving them to find their own way?
I know that all the advancements in technology has not made life worse, but I do believe we need to be aware of the moments we may be missing if we get our priorities mixed up. I made a decision: I will make sure my relationship with God is first and then I will make sure I’m not just asking questions to create meaningless conversation, but I will allow God to show me what questions to ask to bring us closer into relationship with Him and with each other.