Saturday, March 15, 2008

Our Social Skills Are In Need Of Going Green

Our busy lives, completely filled with boring routines, work, laundry and shopping are stripping us of our ability to socially bond with people. I see it when I'm around town. People looking down as they cross the street or pass you by in the grocery store.

It's long been a problem that the more gadgets we have, like tv, video games, iphone, ipod, etc. the more our community seems to regress into it's own four walls and peer out of the windows at passers-by.

We were recently in Europe visiting family and it's really obvious how much they respect the social aspects of life. Every day we were either invited over to someone's house or someone came by where we were staying. Sometimes, several times in one day! Ok, that's normal for family you say. But that's just how the community operates. It's not just in Germany either.

While we were in Italy, there was quite a difference in social behavior among perfect strangers. Downtown, around 4pm, a small park in the center of this concrete jungle started attracting visitors. More and more came by, and the coffee shop there was pumping out the espresso's faster than the machine could handle. The men were huddled over the railing to the water in the port of santa stafano, while the women spoke with their hands, gesturing to their children playing on the equipment.

I wanted to be part of it all. Born into it. Naturally.

So while my son plays at the park and the parents all sit alone, (unless they came with someone they knew) I remember these moments abroad, and wish for that here.

Where to start? How about just stopping by? Ok, even some of my friends and acquaintances would balk at the thought of someone just "stopping by" instead of making plans to have a formal gathering. But what for??? It's amazing that some think the house has to be "just so" in order to invite a neighbor inside for a bit of hospitality. Why? What does a clean house have to do with your social skills?

I'm not sure what it's going to take to get our societies back together again but I for one, am willing to try. I'm always open to my friends coming over, whenever they feel like it.

Another necessary aspect of the green revolution is going to have to be a "rebirth" of socializing and networking. I just hope it's not too late to ditch the laptops and get back into the town centers to talk about our community, children, government, etc.

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