I truly enjoy Thanksgiving – it’s my favorite holiday. Why? No presents, no expectations – just a gathering of family and friends to celebrate all the blessings in our lives. Sure, there’s lot’s of preparation, but that can be joyful too, when shared and viewed from the right perspective. We gather around a sumptuous meal and a beautiful table and enjoy turkey, yams, pumpkin pie and my special chocolate bundt cake with lot’s of Ghiradelli chocolate, and even a few brussel sprouts too.
The conversation is always pleasant. This is not the time to debate political theory, government inadequacies or fixes to the economy. We talk about personal things that matter to us and that we can share in an open and safe environment. How often can we do that? How often do we get to share true, personal connections?
Personal connection sure seems to be lacking in our mobile culture. Text messaging, Twitter Tweets and Facebook posts are not personal connections. The long term consequences of the “new mobile norm” remain to be seen, but I suspect that our society is becoming more isolated, less connected with one another and maybe feeling a little less loved as well.
Connection is really important. If you look at the shooting tragedies we have gone through over the past few years, you will find that all of the shooters were isolated people who felt un-connected and un-loved.
Give a hug to someone you care about today. It will make them feel connected to someone who cares and they can pass it along to someone else. Maybe to a person who really needs that physical contact. We all need to share basic human interaction with one another without resorting to technological tools.
There is a retreat near Silicon Valley where executives have to turn in all electronic devices for the duration of their stay. Most of the guests display significant withdrawal symptoms similar to those addicted to drugs. They simply can’t function without their instant contact with the office or others who insist on communicating constantly. If you observed these guests closely, you would not see very much eye contact or personal interaction. They have learned how to communicate through technology, but without personal connection.
So let’s give thanks not just on Thanksgiving, but every day that we can connect with another human being. Once you feel the true joy of connecting with a fellow member of the human race you might start to realize just how precious life is and how insignificant your last text message was.
John Lawrence Allen, a nationally recognized legal expert, represents investors nationwide in securities arbitration. Mr. Allen’s second book, “Make Wall Street Pay You Back,” was just released. For more information visit www.MakeWallStreetPayYouBack.com.
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