A Case for Face-to-Face Fridays
The Simple Sound of a Single Human Voice
We humans are a social lot. Witness the rise of social media.
Oh, of course there is more than a bit of shared vitriol apparent as people post, but right alongside it, there are moments in lives lived on social media that interact in subtle and substantive ways.
We are, after all, natural born communicators and storytellers, and we look for opportunities to be a part of the whole. We want to share our stories, give and receive advice, and even comfort, when necessary, in this increasingly complicated and isolating world.
Example: I recently received information from a good friend on a British garden artist’s work. Her name was Beatrice Parsons and her garden art paintings are quite breathtaking. Who knew? I loved that, as an artist himself, Bill wanted to widen other people’s knowledge of what is out there in art…and perhaps overlooked, or forgotten.
I’ve included a link at the bottom that will provide a window into Ms. Parson’s work that royals such as Queens Alexandra and Mary admired, and even owned.
But, here’s a thought. Just what did our parents’ generation do in place of social media as we know it today, and maybe, perhaps, even partially, that of the Baby Boomer generation?
I can tell you!
They communed….not with a device, but with a voice.
They hung over backyard fences and talked to one another.They shared the moments in their lives; the good, and even, the not so good. And they gained a communal wisdom from opening their voices and vision of their family, their street, and the world.
They popped in and out of one another’s lives, not exactly living in one another’s pockets, but there was a generalized looking out for the whole of the neighborhood. It still exists, but not to the degree that it once did. And with it went something wonderful.
With the rise of social media that “neighborhood” has grown in a huge way, but, sometimes, I wonder what we have lost in the intimate conversation of a voice lost in quiet, or not so quiet conversation with another human being.
I am not anti technology since it has afforded increased communication. But, my question is what kind?
There is something about the face-to-face meeting where you are open to the whole of what makes that person that person on that day; as in the rise or slump of their shoulders, the brightness in their eye, versus a distant look.
Facial expression and body language is lost in a text or e-mail. There is no view of an arched eyebrow, wink of the eye, or vocal intonation signifying humor, sarcasm or irony. Are what they are IMing being said with a smile or a frown?
The face-to-face subtly invites conversation in a very meaningful way.
And, it’s in its very intimate quality, not in its quantity, that there increases the likelihood of wanting more of that personal conversation, rather than through a host of “devices” that can, at times, if not put in their proper place…slowly separate, and even isolate, without meaning to.
So, here’s my pitch for the Family Face-to-Face Friday. I know there are families out there that have initiated them, and their children eagerly await this grand tradition each week.
Kids love to look forward to things. Don’t we all? Seems I read somewhere that there are three ingredients to happiness, and they are: someone to love, something we do that we are passionate about, and something to look forward to.
Sometimes, parents slogging through a long work week, or kids having an especially difficult one at school, can have things literally put in perspective by the prospect that, at the end of the week, is “Family Face-to-Face Friday!”
And, by the way, “family” today has many definitions, and iterations, so it doesn’t just have to be mom, dad and the kids.
It can include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and soon-to-be-friends.
Let them all in on the benefits of a face-to- face “deviceless” get together, either planned or spur of the moment.
Then, sit back and enjoy the conversations that arise from the sound of the blending of those human voices, chatting, arguing, advocating, enlightening, and just plain, being in the same room with one another, for a face-to-face.
Food thrown into the mix is always a great addition, too!
There’s nothing that can really replace human contact….yet!
And, it’s the perfect pitch for… “How about sharing a read aloud?”
One great read aloud to use is called “How Chipmunk Got His Stripes” by Joseph and James Bruchac, featuring a squirrel who “earns his stripes” by learning that teasing a temperamental bear is a no no, and a bear who learns that boasting what Mother Nature can not deliver is equally foolish. It was recently reviewed on the Snuggery on April 18th!