Last Wednesday I was having lunch with a colleague when I was given the opportunity to witness an extraordinary interaction. At the table across from me sat an older man and his granddaughter who seemed about school age. There’s nothing unusual in this. I’m sure there are lots of Grandads out there who spend time with their grandchildren. What was particularly noticeable about this pair was how willing they both were to use that quality time they had.
“Mum might get back tonight,” he said to her. “That’ll be nice, won’t it?”
The little girl smiled. Her eyes were filled with adoration for him. “It will,” she agreed.
As they ate their meal they discussed their days. She was telling him what she learned in school. He told her what he had been doing in the garden and what activities he had planned for them when they got home. Again, I know many of you are reading this thinking, ‘that’s nice Alison but what’s so unusual about it?’ Well the minute they sat down the Grandad stuffed his phone away in his pocket and it was never removed again throughout the duration. Not once did his interest wane in what the child was telling him.
In a world where the use of social media is making us more and more distant from real life connections it was nice to see that there are still some people who make a point of spending time with loved ones. It’s too simple nowadays to pick up the phone and check Facebook or Twitter to see what’s happening, even when you have real life people in front of you. I am quite a frequent people spotter as I’m sure you can gather from this little anecdote but nowadays people spend such a great deal of time in a virtual world, no one seems to take time to view what’s around them. I’m guilty of it myself. Travelling from Edinburgh to Inverness via train gives you a lot of chances to see some of the beauty that Scotland has to offer but the entire journey all I am likely to see is my news feed or emails.
That man and his grandchild gave me some food for thought. Spend some ‘real’ time with your family and friends. Enjoy the wonders that your surrounding have to behold. Social Media is a marvel in making the world such a connected place but remember that nothing can ever replace the true interactions with your loved ones.