The hardest part with distance and especially online relationships is the lack of body language and other 'tells' that gauge what the other person is thinking. Face to face a few motions of a head or hand can express far more than even a dozen words in text. The problem is in emails and instant messaging you must use your words in text devoid of any emotion or tone of your voice. It can get very overwhelming, especially when you go around and around on a point.
I experienced that recently with a past friend of mine when they got frustrated about a topic they brought up, but that is how the real world seems to work now. I do not know how many times I heard the same stories from a mentor of mine or how many times I have told people I know the same stories and just kind of blanked out during the conversation. We seem to have lost the desire, not to talk but to listen. I know that sounds weird since I am writing of "telling" people something.
All too often we "interpret" that people just do not have the time to listen anymore so we do not take the time to talk or listen to them face to face instead resorting to send them an email or instant message or text.
Now, I know there are people reading this who say “well, I am not like that, I listen closely to everyone”. Do you? I hope you take time this week to focus on this and see if you do. Those of you who are parents this includes listening to your kids even when in your adult mind what they are saying is not proper grammatically.
Look at the native elders and the young. In the olden days, before and even during the use of logs and journals, the elders in a native tribe would tell stories about the past to the young. The youth would listen to the stories, remember them, add or take away from them, and some day when they were the elders, pass these stories on to the next generation. This is how their history was conveyed over hundreds of years.
When an elder tells a story, the onus is not on the storyteller to convey the message, it is on the listener to receive it. It has become a real issue in many of the tribes across the nation as these traditions are being neglected and weened out by the younger generations which is unfortunate.
I think the telling of stories to pass on ones’ history is amazing. It not only is easier to carry around than a five-hundred-page history book but it gives a much more personal approach to history. Now there is room for printed history books in our society but even they are dying out to electronic form. I worry about what our future holds when the electricity runs out and there’s no way to access electronic data, hundreds of years of history will be lost in time because the younger generations are not carrying on the flame. Will our human history be extinguished by the lack of interpersonal communication and tradition?
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