This week, I was once again reminded of the gift, the value and importance of human interaction.
With the lifting of our statewide stay-at-home order and return to Life Groups after our holiday hiatus, it’s so hopeful and encouraging to think about time in the actual presence of people again.
Some will call it one of the lessons of the pandemic; yet another of the things we appreciate but may have gotten to the point of taking for granted.
A friend posted that she and her son had just been talking about this when the conversation went in the direction of human interaction being one of our most basic human needs.
How through not only the pandemic but also our growing reliance on technology to do things for us in the name of convenience, we risk losing touch with one of the most significant gifts God has given to us; the gift of connection through in-person interaction.
As our friend, Ben Stuart has shared; ‘These devices that have been designed to better connect us has actually made us feel more disconnected from the world around us.’
In 2004, the average American spent 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen.
What percentage of your waking hours is that?
How much do you imagine that average has increased by 2021?
And then my friend shared this post from another:
“I spent an hour in the bank with my dad, as he had to transfer some money. I couldn’t resist myself and asked…
”Dad, why don’t we activate your internet banking?”
”Why would I do that?” He asked…
”Well, then you won’t have to spend an hour here for things like transfer.
You can even do your shopping online. Everything will be so easy!”
I was so excited about initiating him into the world of Net banking.
He asked ”If I do that, I won’t have to step out of the house?
”Yes, yes”! I said. I told him how even groceries can be delivered at door now and how amazon delivers everything!
His answer left me tongue-tied.
He said ”Since I entered this bank today, I have met four of my friends, I have chatted a while with the staff who know me very well by now. You know I am alone…this is the company that I need. I like to get ready and come to the bank. I have enough time, it is the physical touch that I crave.
Two years back I got sick, the store owner from whom I buy fruits, came to see me and sat by my bedside and cried. When your Mom fell down a few years back while on her morning walk, our local grocer saw her and immediately got his car to rush her home as he knows where I live.
Would I have that ‘human’ touch if everything became online? Why would I want everything delivered to me and force me to interact with just my computer?
I like to know the person that I’m dealing with and not just the ‘seller’. It creates bonds of relationships.
Does Amazon deliver all this as well?”’
There are obvious upsides to technology. But because technology can be accessed anywhere, it has invaded our lives everywhere.
Technology isn’t life. Something within us ultimately doesn’t feel all that great about the relationship we have with our cell phones or tablets.
While we’re not quite to the point where we enjoy the freedom to meet and gather with one another as we once did, there appears, once again, to be light at the end of this tunnel.
And we’ll do good both to adjust where we need to and begin to plan for when we are able to get back together again.
Sherry Turkle, a professor at MIT has gone from celebrating the limitless possibilities of having an “online self” to calling for restraint, saying, “What technology makes easy, is not always what nurtures the human spirit.”
Work to spend more time with actual people – even if it has to be through online platforms like Zoom or Facetime than you do with your devices.
…kinda gets you thinking, huh?
Right here with you,