Saturday, November 22, 2014

Heart to Heart Talk Is Rare

'Know that we are loved.' Is the topic the nun columnist in the Catholic Times wants us to remember as an important  part of the spirituality of communication. She gives us the example of a writer that came to the conclusion that he and his three teenage children were addicted to the digital screen. Any free time they had would be with the computer or the smartphone, glued to the screen. One day coming home from work, out of the blue, he declared: no more 'screens' for six months.

Let us suppose there were no smartphones or internet, what would we be doing? she asks. We would be walking in the park with our friends more often than we do it now; reading, and going to the dictionary, talking more often and looking people in the eyes and communicating, and wanting to understand another more deeply.

She recalls giving a group some homework:  go home, look a family member in the eyes, and have a conversation. One condition was to  spend 10 minutes doing nothing else put looking directly at  the person and conversing. A week later she asked for the  results of the assignment, and not one out of the ten spent the 10 minutes in conversation. One woman said that she couldn't find the time but did talk to her husband while she was driving. There was no time to spend in eye to eye contact, and speaking to one another.

In a  questionnaire recently, parents have difficulty speaking to their children for even 30 minutes a day, and mostly about their school work and their complaints. There are  many couples that do not even speak to each other in a proper fashion for even ten minutes. Reasons given can be unnerving: busy, fear of a fight, it is  useless. There are even those who communicate by means of Twitter until their anger subsides. 

Another study showed that those families that eat together at least 4 times a week have two times more satisfaction in life than those that don't, and relate better with the society in which they live. Communicating with one another is a  sign of a happy family.

A condition for happiness is relationships, and this requires communication. This does not only include talking to one another. St. Don Bosco in talking to his teachers said: "Do not just stop at loving your children but make sure they feel that love." To make them feel love means there is a need for mutual understanding. Full attention given to the  other, and speaking as if they were the only person present.

We are communicating with others without meeting the other. Communication is everywhere, but mutual understanding is rare. We are daily communicating with our smart phones, but are we meeting the other? How about spending ten minutes today speaking face to face with a person you love; you will find there is the  possibility of having it develop into a heart to heart talk.