Does this conversation on a recent television sitcom between a mother and daughter regarding the son/brother who is away at college, resonate with you like it did with me?
Mom: I wrote him this big long email and he sent me a text! By the way, don’t send a text in response to an email. That’s just rude! He said, ‘Going to class gtg’. What does gtg mean?
Daughter: It means . . . ya know . . . Got to go.
Mom: What is ‘brb’?
Daughter: Be right back.
Mom: And then here’s the biggest insult, ‘love u’. Just ‘u’, not the whole word! I gave birth to ‘u’, don’t I deserve the ‘y’ and the o’? Then he sent me this little yellow smiley face. What’s that?
Daughter: A little emoji art for you.
Mom: I want to emoji art back. Show me how. Maybe he’ll respond to me then!
Are you laughing as hard as I did? I was watching this program with my adult daughter with whom I’ve had similar conversations. Here’s how the evolution of communication has spiraled with this daughter and with her brothers and sisters and their spouses! Anything similar happen in your family?
- The phone: We had frequent conversations on old fashioned, landline phones.
- Cell phones: Then came cell phones and we all went on the family plan and talked often.
- Email: Free on the computer! No long distance charges or using cell minutes, so we wrote long emails regularly to each other. Even though I did miss hearing their voices, I loved receiving their newsy emails.
- Facebook: I first got on Facebook to see what my daughter and grandkids were doing, since she stopped sending pictures by email and was only posting them on her timeline. Then, I started communicating with my readers more via Facebook, but my daughter started posting less.
- Pinterest: “Mom you have to get on Pinterest,” so I did. Again, it was a great networking tool with my readers, but I seldom see my daughter on it anymore.
- Smart Phones: All the kids got smart cell phones with virtual keyboards, which are a pain to type on, and if you try the speaker…who knows what embarrassing words you might be sending because the print is small and you can’t see the screen in the sunlight. But I got one anyway . . . . Even though they could receive email on their phones, the kids still didn’t respond to emails.
- Texting: Then the kids did an intervention with my husband and me insisting that we add texting to our phone plan because that’s how they wanted to communicate with us. So we did, but again typing on phone keyboards is difficult—words are limited, and we have a limited texting plan. But they do respond better to texting, except our “conversations” now go something like this:
Wen wil u b here?
How r u
Meeting Them Where They’re At
I’ve seen some funny Facebook posts about moms and grandmas trying to text or use the speaker and the crazy things they end up “saying.” I haven’t mastered many of the imojis, and didn’t even know that’s what they’re called until I heard it on the above TV program. It took me forever to figure out how to make a heart, and I still haven’t mastered the wink, nor do I understand most other “imojis.”
However, I’ve learned: if I want to stay in communication with my kids and grandkids, I must learn to adjust, adapt, and appreciate new ways of communicating with a good attitude. It’s useless to continue sending emails that seldom get a reply. If texting is the way to get a response, then I’ll text until the next communication craze.
Some parents and grandparents throw up their hands in frustration over these communication trends and refuse to adapt. Then, they’ll complain about never hearing from their kids or grankids. We’re the losers if we stay stuck in techie avoidance, because technology is going to keep moving on whether we do or not.
Everyone’s Looking Down, Be Sure You’re Looking Up
If you observe most people today—families in homes, shoppers in the mall, diners at a restaurant or a coffeehouse—they’re looking down at their most prized possession, a cell phone. Yes, they also use tablets and Ipads, but a phone fits in a pocket or purse, and many simply hold it in their hand. Today’s generation seems desperate to stay in touch and be available, even if words are brief and few.
We can encourage our family and friends to have the Bible “AP” on their phone, and look down at that occasionally. YouVersion is a great resource and offers the Bible in all translations and yearlong reading plans. For years, I prayed that my daughter would want to read the Bible, and then her church challenged her to read the Bible via YouVersion on her smart phone. That worked for her because she checked her phone every morning, and she read the entire Bible in a year and 3 weeks. Now she gets YouVersion morning devotionals on her phone.
Remember what Satan tries to use for bad, God can always use for good.
Putting It All In Perspective
This is a great comparison of the Bible vs. the cell phone:
Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone? What if . . .
We carried it around in our purses or pockets?
We flipped through it several times a day?
We turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
We used it to receive messages from the text?
We treated it like we couldn’t live without it?
We gave it to kids as gifts?
We used it when we traveled?
We used it in case of emergency?
Unlike our cell phone, we don’t have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill!