Monday, August 1, 2011

Warm Embraces or Photo Faces?

Last week , my post was about how we can get a glimpse into a stranger's life by blogging - we can immediately be reading what someone in Japan wrote only seconds before.  That post led me to think about how amazing it is that technology has allowed us to show things we love to our friends all over the world in a matter of seconds.  When my first daughter was born in Germany in 1968, it was at least two weeks before her grandparents here in the states were able to get a glimpse of her from pictures we had to take and develop and then send home to the States.  We didn't have a phone, so it was days before they even knew she was born.  Now when a baby is born, just a simple click of the camera on your cell phone allows friends and family to see the baby seconds after it is born.  It allows us to capture sweet moments with our children and send them immediately to grandparents.
My granddaughters several years back
My grandson's first day of school.

I can blog about Olive, my sweet little polish hen, and people on the other side of the earth can see her the minute I post her photo. 

I don't have to leave the comforts of my home to have a new book at my fingertips by downloading one to my e-reader - in just a matter of seconds.  I can do my Christmas shopping with a touch of my fingertips - which I really did last year.  A friend of mine skypes her daughter in Hawaii and feels like she's had a nice face to face visit with her, albeit, without the hugs that should go along with a visit.   But she does get to see her, see where she lives, see how she lives and can determine how she really is by looking into her eyes - something you can't do by reading a letter.  It brings the world closer.

I'm sure all of you who use the social media Facebook have had similar experiences to mine - connecting to friends you haven't seen or heard from in years.  It's so easy to maintain friendships now.  You know how when you change jobs and vow that you'll stay in contact with each other, but somehow you drift apart?  It happens to all of us.   Then if you want to renew that friendship later, you have to try to find a phone number, make the initial first contact, arrange for a meeting date and place and try very hard to work at continuing the friendship again.  I recently connected to some high school friends and a former workplace friend on Facebook.  After commenting back and forth with them,  reading their profiles and seeing their lives through their photos, you tend to pick up on where you left off much easier than awkward first meetings.  You can make a lunch date by simply posting on their "wall" and you already know a lot about them before you actually meet face to face.

With my crazy schedule, I don't get to visit with my sisters as much as I would like, but because of email contact, I know that one of them had new windows installed in her house this week and another left today on a mission trip.  I know that a niece has retired recently, built a home in Belize and is now moving there.  I have seen the progress of her house being built and I will be chatting with her on Facebook weekly.  I can easily keep up with my nephew and his family in Myrtle Beach and have enjoyed watching through photos as he has become a grandfather himself.  I am hoping to get my nieces and nephews who live on the west coast to join our family on Facebook so we can keep our relationships growing.

I remember how hard my parents worked at maintaining contact with friends and family far away.  Maybe that's the problem about my generation and the generations following mine.  We haven't worked hard enough to keep in contact with those we love.  We're depending on social media to be a substitute for a visit.  We're missing out on warm embraces and handshakes, drinking sweet iced tea on porches, sharing family meals together and the  important eye contact that is the glue to holding us together.  I think of the sweet memories I have of visiting a relative we kids called the "laughing woman",  visits with relatives in the NC mountains drinking in the cool, fresh air, and family meals served around overflowing outside tables of mouthwatering food - and I get nostalgic for the good old days before technology.  Will we fondly remember our Facebook chats?  Will a photo album be a viable substitute for holding a newborn baby in our arms?  Will the email "letters" survive like the sweet handwritten love letters we sometimes find hidden away in our attics?

Technology has opened up new worlds for me.  It's given so many of us a voice that we didn't have before. It's a wonderful thing that we've made contacts that we would have never made without it.   But we shouldn't get complacent about the "technology contact" we have with each other.  I think all of us should work a little harder at holding on to the tried and true methods that worked for our parents - handshakes, hugs and physically being in the lives of those we love.  What do you think?


  1. Such a wonderful post, I think you are very correct...All my family lives on the other side of the world in Australia and Hubbies in another state from us, and I rely heavily on Facebook and Emails and this was the reason I started my blog...but I like to pop little things in the mail now and again to the grandparents (and special aunties) made by my youngest daughter...But your post was a reminder I do not do it often enough and need to PRINT some photos to send again soon.

    Blessings Kelsie

  2. Such a good post today Glenda, and a reminder for all of us to keep the REAL things and people in our lives and NOT just rely on virtual friends/chats etc. Having said that, modern technology is a wonderful way for families to keep in touch with each other when they live miles apart.

  3. Hi, Dear Glenda.
    Oh, I really LOVE your gradson's shy face at his first day of school!!! How cute he is♡
    I wonder your "polish hen" will be the special one, I mean having it as a pet or you have it for the egg?
    Yes, it is really true that nowadays we can have a big benefit in terms of the means of communication, isn't it!!! I AM deeply thankful friends like you who I won't be able to meet just a generation ago.
    Haha, my hubby cannot use cellphone's e-mail function nor pc though(^^;)
    AND of course, I 100% agree with you on that point that we still need physical contact or relationship with the real world not the virtual one. Can we make both of them compatible, I wonder.

    Hugs xoxo, Orchid.

  4. The granddaughters are now 9 and 14 and the grandson is 6'2" tall @ 15 years old. It's been 10 years since that picture of him was taken.

    It's been such fun making new friends in bloggyland (as Thisisme would call it), lol.

  5. When I lived in UK and my folks lived in Hong Kong it would take 5 days for a letter to arrive (from time of writing) so 10 days after an incident or question had been asked it would be answered - international phone calls were for emergencies only - all that is a thing of the past thanks to Facebook, e-mails and texting. Most the time I think that is great but sometimes I wish everythig wasn't quite so immediate.

  6. I agree, Jane. Especially emails - sometimes I fire off an angry reply to an email before I have time to cool off. A letter can sit around a day or two before mailing which gives us time to change it or tear it up. At least Facebook gives us a chance to remove a hasty post before too many people read it.

  7. Technology is a wonderful thing and it enabled me to see my granddaughter in Japan when she was only half an hour old!

    However, there is nothing quite like a hug and a kiss in person, but it is definitely better than not having contact for weeks or months as would have been the case with anyone living abroad in my childhood days.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  8. I agree, Never Never lost that human touch.
    I think it is lost in a lot of our lives, in different aspects although I can see and speak to my children in a second or see photos of my ever growing grandchildren.
    I am watching my childrens hair turn gray and that makes me sad and happy. Happy to lived long enough, sad to see time go so fast.


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