Unlimited text message plans scare me. I’ve got four kids, so I know all about this. Peace and quiet is usually what you want in your home at the end of the day, but it’s starting to get eerie.
“Lisa, where are the kids? All I hear is crickets.”
“Mehmet, those aren’t crickets, those are your kids – sending text messages.”
Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but it’s always nice to hear a voice. But, before I start to sound curmudgeonly, I will say that maybe the kids are actually on to something. They are constantly communicating. And expressing themselves. Chatting with friends about serious issues just as much as small ones. Yes, I’d like them to put their phones away at dinner, and yes, I’d certainly like to eavesdrop, but I get it. (If you can’t beat them, pay for their phone bills.)
Human contact is essential to good health – and this extends to emotional health. While it’s all too easy to become isolated and insular because you simply haven’t got the time for anything else, we all know we’re all better off making eye contact, sharing embraces and experiences. And as ambitious as we attempt to be in our social lives, not all plans that are dreamt up become real. Texting is all well and good, but picking up the phone, dialing that number, and hearing a familiar voice will always be warmer and more satisfying. When the kids grow up, they’ll say, “Dad, you were right.”
Here’s a tip: Set an alarm – on your phone – and when that time comes, call that friend or family member you’ve been meaning to catch up with. If you haven’t missed their last birthday, they’ll be pleasantly surprised and you’ll make their day. And you’ll make your own day. Who knew your voice had so much power? Bonus points: Make that phone call as you walk on the treadmill or walk laps around the track at your local park.
This is something I do with my friends. My life has gotten pretty hectic in the last few years, and it’s really good to touch base and check in. When Lisa and I are making plans, we try not to go back and forth on email and text – we call each other. It saves us time and it’s great to hear her voice in the middle of the day. I also call my parents and my sister at least once a week. Truth be told, they wouldn’t have it any other way, and I’m glad they hold me to it.
Make the call. Ask your friend to call you back. Make the dates and keep them. Make it a habit; make it a practice. As you speak more frequently, see what that does for you. But please, if you’re using a cellphone, use a headset. Not only when you’re driving (hands-free is a must), but whenever possible. Science hasn’t proven anything yet, but I still think it’s a good piece of advice.