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A tea party with the finest china

Posted: October 21, 2010 3:01 p.m.
Updated: October 22, 2010 5:00 a.m.

In a world where material gain and financial success are held so high, genuine relationships are fast succumbing to the screams for attention from the petty distractions of our day. We live in a world that is too busy updating Facebook and Twitter statuses and texting or e-mailing to notice and appreciate what is right in front of our faces. We are so caught up with trying to connect to the world, we can’t connect to those around us; we can’t even enjoy the pleasant company of who we are with because we are too distracted by the constant buzzing phone in our pockets or the need to tell the world every detail of our lives every ten minutes on a networking site. My pastor, Javin Proctor, spoke about this topic Sunday morning and it made me realize how true this is for the world we live in today. When did we become so entangled in the newest technology and material possessions that we no longer care about our relationships with actual human beings? When did we start valuing our belongings more than our loved ones? Worldly gains and petty material possessions pale in comparison to relationships with those most important to us. Time is always moving; we won’t always be here, so what’s more important? You tell me.

Writing this topic brings to mind a special childhood memory of mine. My parents were never so consumed in keeping their belongings nice and pristine that it hindered mine and my siblings’ memories and fun. They weren’t those parents who forbid skating in the house because it messed up the floors or who made you feel like you couldn’t touch anything without fear it would break and punishment would be dealt. Some of my favorite memories as a kid were having tea parties with my sister and using my mom’s best china. When she first married my dad, they didn’t have much money and had to go without things that weren’t essential for a long time. Someone at my mom’s work was selling china and my mom saved up for it, because it was something she always wanted to have. Because she bought it for herself, even though money was hard to come by during the beginnings of their marriage, it was important to her. But that didn’t stop her from letting us use it during our many tea parties, even when most of the glasses and plates ended up broken. She decided that our memories of those special times were more important than material possessions. That’s the way it should be.

I admit, I am guilty of doing many of the things I’ve mentioned in this article. I’ve been with friends and family and completely ignored them and focused on whomever I was texting or Facebooking at the time. And I’m not saying our world is a terrible place because we have Blackberrys and Facebook -- no, I’m saying that maybe next time we are with a loved one that we should give them our undivided attention. They deserve at least that. Next time someone is talking to you, actually look them in the face and listen, don’t just “uh huh” every now and then while you’re glued to your phone or television. Listen. Pay attention. Love. Don’t let those close relationships slip away because you were too busy trying to achieve material gain and too distracted to show them you truly love and appreciate them.

(Christina Stokes is a contributing columnist for the C-I from Camden High School and can be reached at columnist@ci-camden.com.)

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