Yesterday was Sunday, and for a rare treat, I was out with my friend and my goddaughters. I sat in the cafe while LouLouBelle took the girls to the loo, and I people watched, which is one of my favourite hobbies. I spotted couples and families, and people sitting by themselves, and something dawned on me; as a culture, we are too reliant on technology. The little family; a Dad, Mum and daughter of about five, all sat around the table. The little girl was colouring in and chatting away, but her Mum and Dad weren’t listening to her, because Dad was on the iPod, and Mum was on her smart phone. The little girls questions went unanswered, and were picked up and carried away amongst the mêlée of people chatting and catching up, and the world going by. It was sad.
When my girls came back, I spent a little more time that normal listening to their sing song answers to the questions I asked, and appreciating their happy chatter, such are they removed from a world where the day’s happenings will sit as burdens on their shoulders. We talked cinema, and ballet, and, with the littlest one, about ducks and dogs, pointing at pigeons and shouting “DUCK!” like we were privy to a joke that the rest of the world was unaware of. A twenty something woman and a one year old girl, laughing like it was the funniest thing ever. But if you could have seen her face, you would know it was.
As a society, we are desperate to be seen as up to date; knowing the most relevant news and wearing the most current fashion. Our belongings have to be the latest designs, shapes and styles, and our lives are lead in constant contact with the rest of the world. We belong to a throwaway generation where everything is replaceable and it all has a value. Nothing is treasured, and we are so guilty of taking things for granted. We tweet, Facebook and email in real time, forgetting the simplicity of just being with the ones we love and making the most of the time that we have. I know we are all guilty of sitting in the lounge and half listening to our parents or children talking, while we see what is going on in the world of Facebook. We’ve all done it, and it seems totally acceptable in the world we live in. But think about what you would give to be back with that person when they are gone, and how you will regret not giving them your full attention, for however short the time frame. I know that when my mother talks about her garden I tend to switch off, but if she was gone I just know I would give anything to have her back, telling me the difference between one lily and another, or why its best to water your plants when its late in the day.
My great grandmother turns 100 in two weeks time, and lives in a world where all she has is a landline. Technology has overtaken her and if she needs to talk she writes a letter, taking the time over what she wants to say. The angry heat of saying things we don’t mean is removed as she has the time to shape her thoughts and paint them how she means them, and if something is pressing, she will call. No misconstrued text messages or inappropriate tweeting for her, just the calm and poise of a woman who has seen wars and peacetime, the births and deaths of those she loves and the changing of the landscape of the world. Yet she remains the same, and there is something to be said for that.
So from a one year old and a one hundred year old, we could learn some lessons.