Saturday, August 15, 2009

Article #67 Communication Changes

Communication has certainly changed through the years. My parents, while courting, made contact through ham radios on sets built by my dad (his hobby-see old 1930s photo on left of my dad with his homemade radio set) using Morse code. Neither of their families owned a telephone. There was only one telephone at a local store in my mothers’ rural mining town of Silver City. Telegrams were the only other mode of emergency com-munication, and to receive one was thought to be bad news arriving. When my dad died in 1945, we couldn’t call his brother serving in the army in New Guinea but instead sent him a telegram by ham radio signals which was then typed into a paper message and delivered to him by the Red Cross.

There was no instantaneous communication in that day like we have today. My mom lived to be 89 and went from having no home phone to becoming a telephone operator to later owning her own cell phone, then learning to send and receive computer emails. What rapid changes in communication just during her lifetime. Nowadays for those who are computer literate there are emails, blogging, texting and twittering. My mother would say we have gone communication crazy. Which I would have to agree with her, especially those who risk life and limb texting on cell phones while driving.

We are loosing the unique opportunity to talk face to face with each other. Remember the old fashioned porches where families could sit after mealtimes and visit about their day or neighbors could catch up with each other’s lives by talking over their back fences? Few of us today even have time to BBQ on our patios because of our fast paced lives. When was the last time you sat down anywhere without the TV blaring or video games capturing your little ones or grandkids’ interest, even in their own automobiles? We’re loosing the art of conversation and communicating face to face. (Photo of my parents before their marriage in Silver City.)

Knowing how to ask questions and send value to others needs to be relearned. Listening and observing someone’s body language is important, be they family members or friends. One of my favorite activities with my grandchildren, when I visit them and can capture their attention, is to talk with them about their lives and express my love. Those are the memories of my grandparents that I cherish, just sitting around doing nothing but talking. Feeling of their love as we just hung out together.


Jean said...

I remember when a long-distance phone call from my New Brunswick relatives could mean only one thing: someone had died. Then long-distance phone calls became rare chances to have a lovely chat. Now it seems everyone has a cell phone attached to his/her ear and phone calls are for mundane, frivolous reasons (preferably while barreling down the highway at 70 mph), at least most of them. Yikes.

Mare said...

And letter writing is a lost art, too!! Good message, Lin.

nituscorner said...

Given a choice i would choose writing over all the others when it comes to communicating. the joy of the postman coming and delivering your letter at your door step is something that non of the technologies have been able to deliver.

Cheryl /Ashton said...

Your granddaughters will have memories to cherish with you sitting down and spending time with them. It is sad that communication is done by texting and emails, no face to face. What is it teaching the younger generation? They will not have "people skills" I am afraid. And yes, what fun it was to run to the mailbox and receive a letter! And I can remember having a boyfriend who I could call long-distance once in a while but always had to pay my share of the phone bill! My daughter has called me on her cell from her bedroom to ask for me for something, sad but true!!

SandyCarlson said...

So true. Just thinking of how flattened out text and email can be. I hear kids say all the time that the recipient of a message "totally didn't get it" and a problem ensued. Feeling, humor, kindness--these are not present in these formats. We need each other. It's a great lesson.

Rambling Woods said...

I think about this too and how young people don't really talk in anything other than abbreviations..I think the art of real conversation is going to be gone.

I got your book today and took it right to the couch on this very hot day. It is wonderful and vivid and I hope others will buy it and that you will continue to write....Michelle

Kay said...

Much as I love the speed of e-mail and the quick response, I do still love letters in the mailbox the most. It does boggle my mind how much communication has changed and is I speak.

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