On the way home from work today, I saw something that I am sure is common today, but made me think back about my experiences several years ago. As this car passed me on the highway, you could see the dad in the front seat, chatting on the phone. In the back, you could see the daughter chatting away on her phone.
Now back in the Stone Ages (or ten years ago), when you rode in the car, you either brought material to entertain yourself with or actually speak with the people in the car. It made me wonder how many families don't use the time as a good time for discussions and insights to one another. It makes me think back to all the family road trips we took when I was younger.
We almost always left at night. My brother and my mother would fall asleep in the back, and I'd ride shotgun next to my dad since I was always wide awake. Sleeping in the car was not a skill I acquired until I met my husband. I would read the map and keep track of when our next exit would be, and Dad and I could talk about all sorts of things. It was a real bonding experience, and one activity of many we've enjoyed over the years. (Other than my teenage years, but that's another story for another time.)
What I expect happens most often now, is that each person is involved in their own activities, that they miss out on easy time with each other to build relationships. I worry what that does to families. Most often, on our rides to and from my parent's, Piper and I talk, sing, and sometimes enjoy the silence. If I have to make a call, it's most often to my husband, for less than a minute, to give him an ETA. Those rides are an easy time for bonding and I don't want to miss them. I mean, we're stuck in a car together for cryin' out loud!
Cell phones are handy, but I think people have gotten so caught up in being connected all the time, that they don't take the opportunity to be disconnected. Not to mention the risks in using your cell phone on the road. The other morning some college-aged kid was so busy texting that he forgot to drive, nearly sideswiping my car. That kind of stuff scares the crap out of me.
But the point I am trying to make is that if you are connected all the time, take some time to disconnect and see what it feels like to have that freedom again. Use that time that comes so easily to build relationships with those around you. After all, relationships are what life is about.