By Rachel Kabb-Effron
Certified Elder Law Attorney
Kabb Law Firm
I just sent my daughter to Israel today for 17 days. While it is not the first time I have been apart from Trudie, it is the first time that she is going somewhere that is at least 15 hours away by plane. She literally waved, blew a kiss and got in the security line with a giant grin on her face.
To get ready for the trip, we received an extensive packing list so the students can be ready for all types of weather. Believe it or not, the tiny country of Israel has multiple ecosystems. She will be going from the northernmost point to the southernmost point. Every day is packed full.
The one thing the kids were NOT allowed to pack was their phone. In fact, they were prohibited from bringing anything that could connect to WiFi. Believe it or not, the kids were better with it than the parents. As parents, we wanted to at least be able to connect with our kids once a day. Is that too much to ask? Well, the parents made a pledge to not break the rules. Imagine the kids missing the entire landscape of this ancient land because their head is buried in their electronics?
That got me thinking. How many of us fail to interact with one another because of our electronic dependency? I have run into Facebook “friends” who don’t even recognize me out in public; yet, these are people with whom I share many thoughts and feelings online in a typical day.
When I think of the change in technology and life through a client’s 100 year old eyes, I am humbled. They frequently lived next door to the older generation. Their families would live and die within a block. In my family, my aunts would yell from next door to one another. There was no texting. If they saw you wearing something that wasn’t flattering, they told you right then.
The new generation is challenged to understand what meaningful connection is. They are separated from grandparents. While they can Skype with a grandparent, they miss the day-to-day lessons learned at a family dinner. Even my daughter hates to pick up the phone and actually talk to another human. Such a different world.
Kids like my daughter need connections. Elders need connections to the kids. We all need to connect in more meaningful ways. The best way to do that is to be the example you want to teach your children. Pick up the phone. Go for coffee. Make dinner. Go visit. Go backpack across Israel with your buddies and don’t take along electronics. You’ll be glad you did, as you are teaching your children how to connect with you for a lifetime! In the meantime, I need to stop and buy more tissues or stop looking at the Facebook pictures from this morning’s send off!