The Lost Art of Conversation

Take a look around at children the next time you are at an adult gathering or family get-together.

Do you notice anything odd? What are they doing?

Most would think, “Oh, they must be acting up.” But that is not the case.

Acting up would be better in my opinion then what I’ve noticed.

I’m talking about the trend of children to have their heads buried in some kind of electronic device. Boys tend to be attached to gaming gear, while girls can be found texting non-stop.

What I’ve noticed is that these kids, teens and young adults are not interacting in any way with anyone. They aren’t listening (or butting in) to adult conversations or talking with the other young people in the room.

This has me worried – a bit. Although I can see the merit to having little Johnny or Suzy occupied and not acting up, I worry that they are missing out on crucial social lessons.

Granted these kids will be and probably are more technically advanced than their peers of say 10 years ago, but can they carry on an actual verbal conversation with those they are texting? Still yet, can they converse with adults, or down the road, future employers?

I get it, it is less stressful to keep them occupied than have to discipline them for acting up; hey I always kept crayons and paper handy for emergencies. And yesterday, I would have never attempted to take my two oldest grandsons to my doctor appointment with me without their trusty Nintindo DSi’s, which kept them entertained and out of trouble while the doc and I conversed. But I’ve observed that when kids are submersed in their electronic gadgets, they are oblivious to everything around them.

Although Ethan was aware that I was taking his photo, moments before, he hadn’t even realized I had walked into the room.

Case in point, my grandson was playing his Gameboy while we were out shopping. Even after I asked him not to play it while we were walking, I turned around and realized he was over 30 feet behind me. He had stopped when he became engrossed in a particular level.

We aren’t doing our kids any favors by allowing a total submersion in the electronic world. Do them a favor, have them put the gadgets away for a while and engage them in a real conversation.

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