“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
For many of us, our grandparents and later our parents grew up in difficult times surrounded by the tribulations of depression, world war, domestic violence, racial abuse and cultural change. We have been raised in a time of unprecedented technology and have been afforded certain luxuries unknown to our parents and grandparents as they grew from childhood to adult. During these times of the early through mid twentieth century, it was a culture domestically built on family values and respect. It was this foundation that developed a strong outer core and to us a stoic and often emotionless view of relationships between parents and children.
Not to say their love wasn’t strong and pure, but the way they translated that to us is different than our expectations. As we may put our hearts on our sleeve, our parents and grandparents saw the unspoken bond as the means of communicating love for one another.
In a way, technology has desensitized us and sent us backward to the same held back emotionless state we have grown to know from our elders. In an age of text messaging, instant messaging and tweeting, the ability to show unconditional love and feelings is slipping away. This by no means is an apocalyptic view on modern society, but a warning to all of us, including myself that we need to see where we are and more importantly where we are going. Is this the society we want to raise our children in? Do we want them to have a computer at age two, an IPad at three, I gaming console at five, and a complete lack of human need by ten?
As much as I prod my father to tell me he loves me, just to hear the words, it is something I know is difficult for him. I know he means it every day with his actions and his unconditional support and caring he shows for all his children. For him, it is a silent cry to us and very expressive at that. I know he won’t change and I don’t expect him to, but through mutual respect we know. My parents were raised to believe they will do everything in their power to provide their children with a good life.
They did. A wonderful education, safe neighborhood, good friends, strong family structure and most importantly independence. They provided me with the greatest gift: trust. They bestowed to me all their teachings and let me see and experience the world for myself. To me that is the greatest sense of love.
Look at your own life. Look at your family, your children, your friends, your relationships and ask yourself this question: “Is this the life that is truly making me happy?” If there is any doubt in that response or a no, a change needs to be made. I am not about to tell every reader they need to connect more, but to look inside yourself and determine if you are connecting enough.
We all want to hear words of encouragement, receive a hug and a smile, have a person to turn to in times of need and feel connected to others. It is that energy that is exchanged between two human beings that makes the gift of life so remarkable. You may have 1000 followers or 5000 friends in the virtual superhighway, but I will take a long hug and a sunset with someone I care about over that any day.
Maybe the first thing you should do in the morning is smile at someone, hug someone and tell someone special in your life that you love them.
It’s not too late!