So often I learn a life lesson from one of my children. Their take on the world, their innocence, and their fresh slate make their perceptions ones that I don’t have the ability to see. I know the cruelties of the world. I know the harshness of actions and mean people. I’m often bitter, judgmental, and prepared for the worst.
Because I’m 20+ years older than they are, I also think I have the answers.
Sometimes I am wrong.
Over a year ago I wrote a blog about my concerns regarding Savannah’s “friends”. The ones I’m referring to are friends she doesn’t know IRL <– (that’s In Real Life… yeah… I’m cool… I know the lingo).
Anyway, I couldn’t grasp the concept that she could feel connected to people she has never met. In my day (eek, did I really just say that?!) your friends were kids from your neighborhood, school, church, sports, and cousins. Sometimes even your cousin’s friends. You knew what each other looked like. You could pick one another out from a crowd. You knew their style of clothing, what their voice sounded like, and you hung out together in the same room.
Technology has changed that. Savannah meets more kids online than IRL. It’s easy to hop into a chat room type of place that is tailored for a passion. She can go online and meet kids who like Invader Zin within a couple minutes. IRL you’d have to actually dig this information out of another person. Technology has unfortunately also hindered this upcoming generation from these conversation skills. However, that’s a different rant for a different day. back on track we go!
This concept truly concerned me, mostly because I didn’t understand it. That idea is foreign to me. How in the world can you be friends with someone you don’t actually know.
Fast forward several months and now I ask you this. Does the word “know” (in this context) really equal “know in real life”? Or, is there something deeper here we could be missing?
Yesterday I attempted to gather my invite list that Jason asked me for in regards to my upcoming birthday (why does he make me celebrate?! Why do I let him? Hmm.). There are a couple people on that list that I have never met IRL. It dawned on me. Savannah was right. She knew at 10 something I didn’t learn until almost 35. Being in the same room doesn’t make you friends. A common ground does. An appreciation for the same humor. A shared interest. That’s what a connection is.
Thank you child of mine.
I’m beyond blessed to have children exploring this world in ways that are alien to me. They aren’t scared and they don’t do things based on my interest, experience, understandings, and values. They are their own individual personalities and they are out there making their way based upon their own gut, hopes, heart, and dreams. I’m even more thankful that I have my eyes open to the possibilities of all they have to teach me along the way. The journey is ours together and I couldn’t be more excited for it.