Teach Togetherness Over "Tech-Getherness"Nov. 20th, 2015 2:17 pm
Pope Francis recently shared his thoughts and feelings on the decline of the family dinner table, family bonding, and how togetherness can be thwarted by an increasing attachment to technology. As we approach the season of holiday hoopla, here are a few reminders from Pope Francis and the WNY Catholic Schools' blog on how to be a model for your kids in an effort to teach and sustain togetherness.
Put Down the Devices
"A family that almost never eats together, or that never speaks at the table but looks at the television or the smartphone, is hardly a family," -Pope Francis
Our world has evolved so quickly, from TV dinners to smartphone scanning, that many families of Western New York have unknowingly created invisible walls between each other. It has become common for adults, teens, and even children to depend on devices for information, entertainment, and immediate communication.
As we approach the holiday season, let's make a concerted attempt to tear down these technological walls and spend time here, and now, together. Spend time together with the devices off and out of sight. Remind our students of the importance of sharing time with family and friends "off the screen."
Spend Quality Time as a Family
"In family life we learn about togetherness from a young age, which is a very beautiful virtue the family teaches us to share, with joy, the blessings of life." -Pope Francis
Although smartphones, tablets, and streaming internet bring information instantly from libraries and books directly to our devices, remind your family of the importance of reality "off the screen." There are things learned through human interaction and family togetherness that cannot be learned on the internet.
It won't be easy. But,see if you can remember the last time you sat down with the whole family and really talked to each other? There will have to be a plan. You can share a story from your childhood, laugh at a funny story from your day, or talk about a time when you learned something from life before smartphones. You can discuss values, life goals, what's going on at school, anything. Just spend time together, without devices.
"Sadly the family meal, this great symbol of togetherness, is disappearing in some societies, and food is wantonly wasted in some places, while in others many of our brothers and sisters go hungry. Let us pray that every family participating in the Eucharist opens itself to the love of God and neighbor, especially for those who lack bread and affection." -Pope Francis
No matter how big or small your family is, take time together to give thanks for what you have and who you love. Talk about how lucky you are to have each other, and to have what you have together. Teach the importance of giving thanks, and recognizing that there are others out there with less, who would be so happy to have what you may have.
It's easy to forget how difficult life can be for others while being flooded with the technological and social network distractions that have taken over the majority of America's attention. Before this Thanksgiving and Christmas, take some time to teach the importance of family togetherness and set aside some time regularly with no devices!