Thursday, February 18, 2016

Let's Get Together

I can never resist the "Staff Recommendations" near the library entrance.  Even if I go with another book in mind, I almost always end up with a staff recommendation too. It's usually non-fiction. I'm a non-fiction kind of girl.  Occasionally I like some good fiction, but mostly, I really like to read about the world- what's happened in it, how people feel about it, how we can make it better....

For some reason, my love of reading about the world often leads me to choose books about serial killers but that's probably another blog post entirely. Or something I should see a shrink about.

Anyway- today I couldn't resist this book.  I went to the library right after teaching a particularly difficult class, the kind that left me wondering how in the world our current 10 year olds are ever going to function in the world as grown ups. Of course the obvious answer to that question probably has something to do with the fact that by the time they are grown ups, the world will be very different. Perhaps by then they will function in it much better than I will because it will be a world very much influenced by them.

To be frank, that scares the hell out of me.

Why? Because many of the kids I see today have no idea how to interact with a human face to face. They're completely unable to read body language and just as completely unaware of how their own might affect someone else. You can't really blame them. Their parents were probably busy texting or taking Facebook photos as they gave birth.

You know it happens.

Needless to say, I was rather intrigued by this book on the shelf. I'm not the most social person on the planet by any means, but I do love a good conversation.  A real one.  One that does not involve my phone.  One with eye contact and emotions and body language. One that doesn't get edited. One that could involve tears or hysterical laughter or a hug.

I don't care what anyone says. Nothing on the internet or your phone can ever replace a hug.

One of the cool things I've noticed about ditching Facebook is that it leaves me more available for real conversations. Not available in the sense of having more time but "available" in the sense that when I see someone, I'm more present in the conversation because since I haven't seen the "updates" of their life on Facebook, I'm more genuinely interested in listening to them.  I've realized that I spent a lot of years knowing what people did but never knowing how they felt. No wonder, as the author of the book had pointed out by page two, our younger generation seems to lack empathy. They are growing up in a world where the most used forms of communication lack emotion. I wonder how long this can really go on before it's not just our communication that lacks emotion, but our selves.

I don't know about you, but I don't want that to happen. I embrace the hysterical laughter, the occasional anger and the heartfelt tears that are sometimes part of a real conversation. They're all part of the human connection that makes our lives meaningful.

That said, let's get together for a conversation. I might even give you a hug. (Or cry on your shoulder...)