Write on Edge has been prompting us to work on dialogue this last week, well I was away and not really in the right place to conjure up meaningful words. But at the same time dialogue was a theme resonating in my own life.
An exchange of ideas via conversation
Where a group of people talk together to explore their assumptions of thinking, meaning, communication, and social effects
Dialogue is essential in more than fiction, it is the essence of nonfiction, that is, our everyday lives. Many people feel that it is our ability to communicate that makes us human. But all that make me wonder why then we find so hard, if not impossible at times. Sadly it’s the important things to the important people that go unsaid.
Have you heard the cute little phrase beloved of kitsch fridge magnets and the like, ‘friends are the family we choose’? I like it. It’s true. Friends can be closer than family because blood isn’t enough to keep people together much less like them. True, good friends are one of life’s greatest honours. I’ve also seen somewhere in the blogosphere another phrase, beautiful and true, about how family (therefore the friends that we’ve opted in) are the ones who travel life’s road with us.
But while I’m all for friends and my personal definition of ‘family’ is generous, why has family fallen so much from favour? Why are we no longer being held by our family ties? Distance, lifestyles, communication?
Maybe if we now get to choose our ‘family’, we should also be thinking to get to know and opt some proper family members into that elite circle. It’s so sad when someone passes and you’re full of regret that you never got to know them better or realise only then that you had so much in common with them. But it’s too late then. Get to know people, talk to them.
Family is changing but it doesn’t have to bad thing. We’re apparently a generation empowered and besides which we have so much communication technology available to us that there needs to be no excuse. It might be a different type of relationship but with email, social media, mobiles and goodness knows what else along with more longstanding things such as telephone and letters, there is no distance that is too great. You can keep in touch. There are no adequate excuses if you truly value your relationship. Send a text message, send a card with a mile long twee poem and your name at the bottom. No excuses.
It becomes a tragedy when family, close family nevermind anything further, knows so little of each other’s lives, when they don’t know each other and their shared history. When all they can share is moments of grief that drag them together and still they have no words for each other. It’s a tragedy when they come together in that grief to mourn a passing that could have been prevented with just a little dialogue.
Please, please reach out. If you love someone, talk to them, tell them that you love them and more importantly, encourage them to talk to you and genuinely listen. Teach your children to believe in family and to always communicate. Don’t be fooled into thinking that bottling up, sweeping under the carpet, hiding away are the techniques that will give you a long and happy life. Man up as the Americans say and cry, hug, talk and listen with those you love. Whatever your tie to them may be.
Talking saves lives. Talking saves families.