Written November 9, 2016
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” ~Dr Martin Luther King Jr
How do you get to know someone? Sending emails or text messages? Listen to sound bites from someone with 2nd hand information who probably doesn’t know that person very well? You could begin to get to know someone that way but you won’t know them on a deeper, more intimate level. I’ve learned the hard way from experience that it just doesn’t work very well.
The quote above by Dr Martin Luther King Jr was said a very long time ago, before all this electronic communication stuff. But today his words couldn’t be any more on point.
When Dr King said those words African-Americans were despised, feared and consequently segregated from and by whites. This hatred and discrimination came from a place of fear, most of which was because whites didn’t know them on even a somewhat personal level. They only heard stories passed from one person to another in the market, in at the bar, on the street, even in church or from one generation to the next. But race relations is not my main reason I write about this quote.
Back in the 1960’s when Dr King said this, there were three ways to communicate; face to face, writing a letter with pen and paper, or talking on a telephone(although phones were still considered more of a luxury).
In today’s day and age, phones border on more of a necessity plus we have cell phones that not only make calls but also send little electronic text messages. Not to mention computers that send emails and social media that send messages. These types of communication are not only cold, but they also leave a lot of room for misunderstandings.
Say I’m in a hurry to send a message and I type, “Get milk on way home.” What’s your first thought? That I was rude and didn’t say please or it sounds like I’m demanding that you get milk? What if I said, “Could you pick up some milk on your way home, please?” I bet this sounds a lot different.
That’s just a simple example of how electronic communications sound. The best way to communicate with someone is still face to face. We can hear the tone of each other’s voice, see the expressions, and be able to immediately ask questions or respond accordingly and appropriately.
Perhaps if we had more communication with each other we could move beyond all the fear and hatred that has swept thru America in recent years…
Thought for the day: When was the last time you wrote a letter with a pen and a piece of paper? Or when was the last time you sat down with a family member/friend over coffee or a meal?