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Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Decline of Conversation

Just this week a few topics have come up with friends and family that make it obvious that there is a decline in conversation that is world wide. 

For instance, my mom posted on our recipe blog yesterday (Click here to read post.) a sweet story about her memories of swings and visiting on the front porch.  The night before my husband had told me about a story he had read (click here) that talked about how the world had changed, and how people were more into being entertained than by being involved.  The article even talked about how for many even worship had changed.  Instead of thinking about WHO we are worshipping - God - we're more concerned about how we feel during worship.

Another part of the article my husband showed me really got me to thinking.  Here's what it said,

"A current trend in the building of new middle and upper class suburban homes is to include a “theater room,” a windowless room complete with large, movie theater-like chairs, a speaker system, and a big screen television. This is another one of those things that seems odd when you take a step back…a whole room in the house dedicated just to watching stuff. We’ve gone from having parlors for making conversation, to rumpus or recreation rooms for playing games, to rooms in which people sit silently side-by-side in the dark."

Now, I know friends and family who have theater rooms, and yet these friends and families are still able to carry on meaningful conversations.  But, what I thought of is that we, as a nation, have gone from talking and communicating with each other, to being totally entertained and often times self absorbed.....into devices and electronics. It's a constant battle to keep this "stuff" from breaking down the family. 

As a mom (and with my husband's help), it is up to me to put limitations on all of this "stuff".  Most children aren't going to set limits for themselves (although a few of ours actually do in some cases).  One way we limit exposure is by not getting the gadgets in the first place.  For example, the salesman thought it was strange that we didn't want a DVD player in our old minivan or in our newer Expedition.  We had to explain to him that we'd rather hear our children talk than to only hear movies playing.  We don't buy any video games and limit computer time at home.  As of yet, we don't have a Wii (although I think there is a lot of family interaction with it and we may get one eventually). 

Another way that conversation has declined is because of texting.  I'm a fan of texting, myself, if it's for a quick question or an announcement.  In fact, it saves me a lot of time on the phone talking, BUT, the problem is that some would rather have a whole conversation by text than they would a face to face conversation.  When people begin a conversation like that with me I either call them or say "call me".  (Plus, I can't type on that thing that fast!!) 

The idea that people can't converse face to face is somewhat scary to me.  Couples that only have a texting relationship may have trouble communicating later on if they aren't used to talking in person.  Teens and adults may sometimes say things by text that they would never say in person (good and bad things).  It's like hiding behind a wall and not wanting to come out and be seen!

So.....we set limits within our family.  Perhaps you do, too. We've chosen to limit electronics and their use because we believe that is best for our family.  It helps prevent the decline of communication in our family.  Some day our children will grow up and go out on their own.  They'll have to make their own decisions about how they raise their families.  Hopefully by the way we have raised them, they won't buy into the hype that in order to make it in this world one must have the latest gadget or electronic.  Prayerfully they will have families that communicate and have face to face conversations.  (I just thought of the electronic "Skype" which does combine the gadget and also the face to face conversation!  There's a thought! :)

What do you think about the decline of conversation?  Is it real?  How do you combat the problem within your family? 


Wa Wa Waughs said...

Oh yes, it is hard. Especially when your husband works in the technology industry! For a long time we had a "No Media Hour" immediately after dinner. It was for doing homework, playing outside, practicing music, etc. We also set the timer for computer time when we only had 1 computer between the 3 kids.

Lori said...

I hadn't thought about the work! That is true.....and they're always making something new for us to think we need!

I like the no media hour idea.

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