When I see couples dining out and (individually) romancing their phones instead of each other, I roll my eyes inwardly and decide that either the relationship is stale or the phones are new. But one day, I returned home and I realized that we have all gone back to our (individual) rooms and to our own choice of personal entertainment. My dad loves to read, my mom likes watching Channel 8 dramas (and scolding the Ch 8 villains though they can’t possibly hear her), I’m either reading, blogging or surfing the Net, while my sister is most likely watching Japanese anime or laughing her head off at some Korean show like ‘Running Man’ (I’ve only watched one episode!) Yes, some days go by when we are actually “too busy” to have a meal together, or catch a show together, or even just exchange a few words with each other.
Also, there’s a six-year age gap between me and my sister, and while we look like we’re of the same height, we don’t really see eye-to-eye on many things. 😀 Since we were young (and foolish) kids, we could quarrel over the most ridiculous of things. A few years back, we had a heated argument over yet another silly matter. I don’t remember the details but I remember what she said after I furiously told her that I’m not talking to her ever again(!!!), and that she can jolly well do the same too. Her response was rather unexpected. She said that she knew I would get married in a few years’ time, move out of the family home, and she’d likely see even less of me then, so could we please put this behind us (or something along those lines). Thankfully, I was wise enough to agree.
Still, while we live under the same roof, we do sometimes communicate via whatsapp (and even, email) instead of walking over to chat. And our flat isn’t very big at all. (@_@) I know this isn’t unique to our family. Many other families have children who hole up in their rooms and keep their bedroom doors shut at all times.
But this is a problem. And alarm bells should sound in your head when your family members are behaving more like tenants within the same rented apartment instead of, well, family. And one day, I got a shock when I realized my sister had gotten a skin infection at her previous workplace (and had sought medical treatment for it), but I didn’t know anything about it when it happened. She probably didn’t want to cause us worry back then, and I was too busy with my own work to notice. If I had known, I’d most certainly want to take her to the doctor’s then seek compensation from her former employer for not ensuring the safety of her workplace! Thankfully, it was nothing serious. In many other families, a breakdown in communication could have dire outcomes. For instance, a teenager could commit suicide due to relationship issues, and the parents may regret not spending more time reaching out to their child and working through the issues he/she faces. [This is based on a true story reported in the newspapers. The devastated mother actually committed suicide after her daughter killed herself.]
Take a few minutes and watch this (viral) video about Singaporeans reconnecting with family members:
I cry every time I watch this video. I’m reminded about how fast my parents are aging, I’m reminded of the people I never really got to say goodbye to, like the uncle who died of cancer in the hospital when I was very young, and my grandmother who died alone in a nursing home at night. So, before it’s too late, let your loved ones know how much you love them.
I know it may be kind of awkward if you just grab a family member and have him/her look into your eyes for 4 minutes. Make it a game. There’s one we must all have played at some point in our lives: “First to blink loses!” 🙂 And he/she will have no choice but to look into your eyes for a couple of minutes.
Besides gazing lovingly at your parent, sibling, spouse, or child, you can also do these:
- Share a meal together, without any digital devices. I highly recommend restaurants like Dancing Crab, where everyone eats using their fingers. And it can get quite messy so handphones are usually kept safely in handbags or pockets. You’ll really enjoy the conversation, I guarantee. 🙂 (*A cheaper alternative is KFC, maybe?)
- Participate in an activity together. You could prepare a meal together, make dumplings, bake cookies, mooncakes, etc. Alternatively, how about a boardgame like Monopoly?
- Take a class and learn something new. My bf and I recently went for a ukelele class together, and it was a lot of fun. We shared a lot of laughs (ok, I did most of the laughing) because it’s such a small instrument and all the guys in the class just had such trouble playing it comfortably. 😀
Take some time today to disconnect from the digital world, and reconnect with the people who matter the most to you. Do something you won’t regret. 🙂
#sp #RelationshipReconnect #Prudential