While watching a scene from the iconic teen film The Breakfast Club a few years ago, I suddenly realized just how much our world had changed. It dawned on me that not one of the movie’s five main teenage characters ever picked up, looked at, or engaged with a smartphone or digital screen of any kind. Rather, their engagement during Saturday detention was with each other! In fact, nobody in the film engaged with a screen. Yep. . . times have changed.
I got to thinking about how digital technology has changed, crippled, and even eliminated face-to-face communication. And with our Thanksgiving gatherings on tap for today, I’m guessing that the older you are the more you’ll notice the same thing when you gather with family and friends at the table. Time around the table isn’t what it used to be. The old days are captured in Norman Rockwell’s familiar Thanksgiving painting, “Freedom From Want” . . .
The new way of doing things together yet alone is captured in this fictional yet oh-so-real comic. . .
So, with this in mind, how would you feel about pushing back and being a bit counter-cultural this Thanksgiving Day? And, how about doing it all day? Why not give this a try? . . .
First, shut off from all social media. No checking. No posting. No engagement whatsoever. Don’t look at anyone else’s Thanksgiving pictures. Don’t post any of your own. We all know what a nice table-setting topped with juicy turkey looks like. You don’t need to see ours. We don’t need to see yours. Let’s all focus on what’s right in front of us.
Second, leave your phone on so that you can take and make phone calls to family who won’t be spending the day with you. That said keep your phone out of your hand, off your lap, off the table, or sitting anywhere your person while you are engaged with real flesh-and-blood human beings.
Finally, after you’re done focusing on people rather than pixels, think about how your Thanksgiving social media shutdown was different from other days. You’ll find out it was quite nice!
Happy Thanksgiving! Now. . . put down that screen you’re looking at. . .