Gratitude, Hope and Love

Allison Alexander

Posted on March 19 2020

Maybe it is the Quarantine talking, but I have started to feel like we are on the precipice of something profound. We are at a moment in our lives when nothing will ever be the same. Collectively, we are changed.That isn't all bad. Indulge me while I find one possible bright spot in this. For years, I have feared that the disconnection that has grown from our collective need for "connection" via devices will impact children. 
Over the years, I have been heartbroken to look around restaurants only to notice almost all of the children on devices (and so are their parents). I have wondered how this progresses over time as they age into teenagers and do not talk to their parents because they never have. Instead, parents keep their kids "busy" so they can connect with everything that isn't in front of them. I have wondered when we lost the ability to talk to the people in front of us and how children will grow up thinking that their parents would rather talk to the person on the internet than them. 
Additionally, we have over-scheduled our lives to death! Growing up, family dinners were not an option, we ate together. Period. As we got older, that wasn't always every day, but it was most days and it was special. I know many families now that do not do that at all and I wonder too of the affects of this on children. I get that it is hard, I do, there is work and practices and meetings, etc... everyone is going a million places at once and collectively we are told we MUST DO IT ALL.
Several months ago, I started keeping a journal of 10 things I am thankful each day. In hard times, I look back on this as a reminder that I have a literal notebook full of things I can be grateful for. Many of the things on that list are dinners with my family. I am fortunate enough that as a household we made an unspoken agreement to have dinner together 5 nights a week or more. Is this easy? Nope, not always. Is it worth the effort? Many times over, YES!
Last night, I was reflecting on our dinner and thought about how grateful I am that we do this. I have a touchstone in my home. We sit together, eat and talk about our lives. This got me thinking that around the country there are likely homes with families who haven't gotten to sit together for dinner in a long time that finally have that opportunity (forced or not). Practice is cancelled. Meetings are too. We can sit with each other, with our children and recalibrate what eating together is and reconnect. 
My guess is, we are all clinging to our devices more than ever to feel connected, but my hope is that desperation for connection leads to more of us to put our phones down to eat with our families. 
Children are in need of human connection right now and we owe it to them to give it to them. We owe them this recalibration. And I am hopeful that maybe when this is over (and it will end), that some of us reflect on the over-scheduling and the things that keep us from the ones in our home. The ones we rely on in hard times and share joy with. 
I recognize that this isn't the case for everyone and there are lots of problems and people who have things that will preclude them from the ability to eat with their families and that it is a privilege to do so, but I am also saying that it is a privilege that some of us have (a gift in a dark time) and I hope that we appreciate it for what it is and that gives me hope that we can come out of this with some part of our lives improved. 

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