Are You Well Connected?
Being connected is an important human element for all of us. We need to be connected – to our families, friends, and our community.
Did you know that an infant needs connection for healthy development? Think about how babies copy your facial expressions and noises. Try making fish faces at a fifteen month old. Or showing them how to make raspberries with their tongue. They will eagerly do what you do. That is a key way of how they learn. They need this back and forth connection with their adult. It is heartbreaking to see an infant laughing and giggling at an adult only to be totally ignored. Soon, they will learn to not respond.
All of us need this back and forth interaction. Dave’s workday is spent alone in his studio. My workday is spent at The River Center or out and about. At the end of the day we connect with each other by talking about how the day went. Dave may have had big thoughts about the creative process, I may have had trouble writing a column for the Ledger Transcript (for example). We ask questions and respectfully listen, empathizing with the frustrations and successes of each other. We seek to understand and support. We are connecting.
I have found that technology can be helpful or harmful to essential human connections. When cell phones were just starting to be used we went to the New England Aquarium in Boston with our daughters. We were outside watching the seals swimming in their tank. Sitting on a bench was a dad and his six year old son. The son was watching the seals while the dad was totally absorbed in his phone. I felt badly for that little boy, out on a fun outing with his dad, and yet his dad was not present. I didn’t realize that in a few years we would see this all the time both from children ignoring their parents as well as parents ignoring their children, all due to the compelling draw of handheld technology. Connecting with others means being present, mentally and emotionally as well as physically.
On the positive side, our adult daughters and families have a lively connection through WhatsApp. Since we are spread out from Kigali, Rwanda to Durham, North Carolina to Dublin, NH, this connection through an app on our phones is fabulous. A thread of photos and comments keeps us connected to each other on an almost daily basis.
The Strengthening Families Framework has identified social connections as one of the key protective factors for strong families. Social connections are defined as “positive relationships that provide emotional, informational, instrumental and spiritual support”.
So, when was the last time you got together with a friend for coffee and a good chat? Have you looked your child in the eye and had a good laugh together over something silly? Do you have someone you can call when you need a help?
Connections. It is part of what we do at The River Center Family and Community Resource Center through parenting groups, play groups, and volunteer opportunities. We connect you with services and programs that you need to keep your family strong.
Give us call at 924-6800 or visit us at 9 Vose Farm Rd. Suite 115, Peterborough or www.rivercenter.us.