FAMILIES BECOMING STRANGERS
I am a people watcher. Especially when I’m alone, and especially when eating at a restaurant.
Recently, I had a quick bite at the California Kitchen in Fort Lauderdale. You see, it must be a quick bite because the music background is an incredible, mindless cacophony — I’ve heard this same noise at rush hour in the New York City subway.
But there are a few things I enjoy on the menu, and it’s a great place for people watching, so I employ earplugs to get through the ordeal.
What has changed in the people watching landscape are families whose children sit during a meal, hardly eating, their noses permanently stuck in their cell phones, or other electronic gadgets. Isn’t it sad enough that too few families ever sit down to dinner together at home anymore? The very saddest thing about this scenario is that conversation is at a minimum and the parents seem to be okay with the kids out of their hair, some even hardly talking to each other.
What I’m getting at is that technology can be such a phenomenal thing, and true it has changed the world for the better in many ways, but at the same time taking away and destroying basic intrinsic family values.
Television for decades has invaded the family structure, but now, as the never-ending outpouring of electronic gadgets continues, American families are becoming complete strangers to each other.
The mania for owning the latest cell phone, or some spinoff, has created a serious divide, denying families the ability to converse, exchange ideas and, most importantly, get to really know one another. Cell phone management should either become a family priority, or just simply watch your family become dysfunctional, more distant and impossible to communicate with.
A new book recently reviewed in the Wall Street Journal called “The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play and Much More,” written by Bruce Feiler has just been published. It gives great insight regarding the problems facing families today and ways to solve those problems.
Jon Frangipane, Editor/Publisher