Five minute Friday: Together. In an age of social media, why are we less connected than ever?

I haven’t seen these challenges Lisa Jo Baker but have today found her wonderful encouraging site through the equally encouraging Called to be Home.  I’m not a Christian myself but I find the posts on Called to be Home inspirational and love reading about the activities and learning that goes on in her household.

Challenge:  To write for 5 minutes, unedited about the word given.  This week the topic is:  TOGETHER

Anyway, timer is ready to start so here goes…

Together is a word that conjures up ideas of closeness:  A family snuggled together on a couch, babes in their mother’s arms, solidarity, loyalty.  It suggests a united stance, a bond.  Connectedness.

Yet it can so easily hide the truth, the sadness behind.  We talk about families who have stayed together, somewhat of a rarity in these days of broken homes, but we constantly hear stories on the news about families who never eat together.  I read recently that 25% of British families don’t have a dining table.  Now of course they might eat at the breakfast bar or on the couch (although then of course, the tv is likely to be blaring out) but the reality is that so many families don’t sit together.  In days gone by, the family would make the effort to sit together at meal times.  It was the one time when everyone could catch up with everyone else.  What happened in everyone’s day?  Did anyone hear about that story on the news?  Who was really proud of an achievement or upset about something?  Cynicism leads me to believe that even if a lot of families were to sit together, most would communicate more through their mobile phones in a series of lols and winky faces rather than engage in any quality discussion with the family.

I hear shouts of, “But we talk all the time, we live together for goodness’ sake.  So what if we don’t eat together – our mouths are full, we wouldn’t chat!” But in an ever time deficient society, parents, spouses, children so often seem to pass each other like ships in the night.  Ships that are perhaps on opposite sides of a vast ocean.

Kids don’t want to be seen with their parents and parents sadly, don’t often want to be seen with their kids.  In lots of authorities in England, half term starts today and I have heard desperate cries from many parents.  “Why do they need a break?  They have only just gone back after the summer! Roll on a-week-on-monday!”

Have we forgotten what together means?  Do so many of us spend so little quality time together that the mere suggestion of it frightens us so we avoid it at all costs.  How ironic that with the boom in technology, the constantly expanding network of social media and other means of staying connected, that we are actually less together than ever!