By Lavonne Kroeker, PHEc
Recently I spent some time with a friend and her family and we got to talking about connection and how it seems to be lost at times in this hyper-connected world. We talked about Facebook and how sometimes status updates separate us more than connect us – if all we read are the amazing details about a person’s “perfect” life, it can shut the door for real conversation between us as we think about our own crazy, sometimes challenging life that does not match up to “her” perfect world. Most have heard similar ideas about the ways in which technology connects us but also can give us a false sense of connection – we’ve e-mailed or texted them so that means we’ve connected, right?
However, we lose something in that type of conversation vs. a phone conversation or in-person communication – we never get to hear the inflection of their voice. Do they sound tired? When we ask them how their day was, we can hear the response immediately and ask them more about their horrible day as opposed to waiting till later in the day when we have a minute to check our texts and a one word answer.
Connection is a basic human need and we need to look at ways of getting it back, especially with those we love. Our electronic interactions can definitely be a piece of that but some conversations need to happen in person and sometimes we just need to pick up the phone so we can catch those little things that get missed when we only communicate electronically. And if much of our communication comes through non-verbal messages that our body provides (our facial expressions, hand gestures, posture, etc), we need to make sure to block off time for a coffee date or at the very least, Skype the ones we love! By the way, I’m bugging that friend who lives in another country to get Skype up and running so we can hopefully talk more often than our current twice-a-year!
As a professional home economist, Lavonne Kroeker has worked in a wide variety of settings – an adult learning centre, child welfare, private industry and since 2007, as a Rural Leadership Specialist with Mantioba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. Her job involves “creating leaders” in rural communities – whether its supporting volunteer 4-H leaders, chairing a Safety Day committee, developing programming for women in business or organizing training for farm women, there is never a dull day! Besides her day job, Lavonne enjoys volleyball, biking, creative pursuits and almost any outdoor activity!