I am presently reading ‘Reclaiming Conversation’ by Sherry Turkle who claims that because of our constant use of both phone and screen to communicate, we are in danger of losing the ability to sit with others and enjoy a conversation. She also makes the point that empty spaces are quickly filled by checking our phones and that people keep boredom at bay by spending so much time checking emails or simply scrolling. Yet boredom is often the soil from which creativity springs. It is important to have time to simply be still and not have to fill our minds with information, so much of which will be replaced by more information within an hour.
I like the convenience of what a phone offers, but I am also aware that it can easily take too much of my time, time that could be spent doing something more helpful. Since reading this book, I have become more aware of how much of my attention I give to my phone. Increasingly, this is becoming an issue in society. I can recall seeing a family at a restaurant celebrating an occasion and realised that all were on their phones presumably sending a photo of the cake. The image took priority over reality.
Few things are more fulfilling than engaging with someone at a deeper level as we share our struggles and vulnerabilities. That is the place where relationships are strengthened, and we experience connectedness – something we all crave. Social media may give us acquaintances, but conversations of depth give us valued friends. Talking as we walk with others is a delightful way to spend an hour. Walking with our kids helps strengthen our bonds – which are so important as they progress through the years that will inevitably present many challenges.
Grace and peace.
Rev. Gerry Riviere
Senior School Chaplain