We were sitting down to hot bowls of chili tonight. It was rather late, and everyone was tired from the activities of the day. We were staring off into oblivion, and no one was talking. The itch to pull out a cellphone and go into dead brain mode was tempting. But nobody did.
We had just listened to Steven Spielberg’s commencement address at Harvard where he was talking about hate and segregation. He had said something like “we” have to come together with “them” and find “us,” and it all starts with connecting. He, too, mentioned my theme of staring into devices more than we spend time getting to know what others are all about.
So in the midst of our quiet, I went and pulled out a gift I had received at Christmas from a friend. It’a small acrylic cube filled with questions. I randomly pulled out one and asked the others around the table what they thought. It was a little awkward to get started, but by the end of the first round of answers, we were looking into each others’ eyes and finding out about thoughts and ideas, and it was deeper than a normal conversation.
After a few rounds, I started to clear dishes and I heard: “Aw, are we done?” It made my heart smile that we had truly connect for a few minutes at the dinner table. The acrylic cube? It still sits on the table, waiting for our next meal together.
DAY 227 HOMEWORK: If you need some help disconnecting from technology, bring a list of questions to the dinner table. Google “dinner conversation starters” and you’re sure to find a bunch of questions to get you started.