14.4.2015

Importance of family bonding 

Values and practices which were once an integral part of families are slowly eroding through the use of everyday technology and in our mad rush to earn more and provide better, we tend to miss out on the fundamental needs of a healthy family.

It is sad to see the days when family bonds were highly appreciated, complete with the laughter and joy on children’s faces while sharing stories during family gatherings.

Today, it is not surprising to see the familiar sight of children flocking together around gadgets, unaware of what is going on in their surroundings.

It would appear that in every family, the display of the latest gadgets is the main agenda during the family gatherings, if there are any.

Elders considers it as a sad scenario when youngsters today have nothing left to share except videos and nothing else to play except virtual games on their expensive and latest gadgets.

It is a wonder then when elders as well as those who value the old days, questioned where have we gone wrong as parents?

One school of thought justify what is going on that things happening today are done with a noble intention, buying expensive and up to date gadgets to ensure our children are on par with the latest technology.

This logic however tends to appear to be getting a little out of hand these days as gadgets of all forms and sizes have started to dominate the youngsters’ life, either for knowledge, entertainment, communication or work.

It does not require close observation that the young today are so preoccupied with their gadgets until the significance of human relationship is being neglected.

Looking at the old days, many would agree that a simple hug is an expression of love and compassion which leaves a warm feeling on the receiver as well as the giver. Unfortunately, the importance and significance of a hug is often neglected by parents as well as children today.

Some of us who belong to the old school are wondering why, for some unexplainable reasons, we Asians are less expressive in terms of displaying our love and care towards our own family that we feel very reluctant to hug or kiss in public.

Considering the openness of our society today, there are surprisingly some quarters that see the act of kissing or hugging in public as indecent. One must come to a decision if it is indecency to give a harmless peck on the cheek of your spouse or children in public places.

It would be good if the younger generation is re-introduced to the habits of the good old days – writing letters to replace e-mail and WhatsApp messages, and making phone calls, which today is becoming a thing of the past as modern IT has allowed us to leave impersonal voice notes.

Instead of beautifully wrapped gifts purchased with thoughtful consideration of the personality and liking of the receiver, we give virtual gifts to friends and family.  The old carefully chosen greeting cards are now being replaced with mechanical e-cards and smiles are replaced by emoticons.

Despite the need to move with technology, it should not be allowed to take over or rob the fun and laughter of the younger generation. There should be a fine balance so as to ensure that our children are not drowned in technology. Parents need to create awareness among the young to value the fine things in life.

Take the current art of communication – looking at today’s situation makes it looks like it is heading to a slow death as the obsession towards modern technology has robbed the skills of communication from the younger generation. Just look at a group of youths today meeting in a public place – each paying more attention at their smart phones or tablets instead of conducting a fruitful conversation among themselves.

It is common knowledge that many relationship issues are caused by the inability to communicate and express thoughts and opinions effectively.  Many youngsters fret at the thought of sitting down and having a face-to-face communication. Life has become too mechanical and communication has become faceless and cold with the irresistible power of modern gadgets.

It is high time we take a break to ponder on this development and try hard to bring back to life the warmth of real human communication.

It is still not too late to end the reign of gadgets taking over our daily lives and guide the App Generation out of screen time towards a more meaningful inter-personal human relationship.

This scribe, despite having adopted the use of modern technology, still prefers inter-personal intellectual conversation rather than virtual communication.  The smart phone, aside from treating it as a mobile computer, is usually used to make voice calls – as intended by Graham Bell.