Archive for April, 2016

Modern family dinners

I’m used to it now. Working away from home means that dining usually takes place alone. It’s just easier and more convenient this way. Besides, I’m a bit short of friends in this place. But that’s another story.

When I do dine by myself, I take notice of the occupants around me. The usual stereotypes are normally all there. There’s the new lovey dovey cute couples, there are the we’ve been dating for a few years and things are kinda boring and it’s more efficient if we just communicate with each other through our phones couple, there’s the Mum who is by herself looking after the kid/kids who are yelling, screaming, screeching, and running about, there’s the happy new family with the first born toddler with the mummy and daddy, and lastly there’s the long married couple that are just dining together outside because their kids have all grown up and moved away. I’ve seen all types really and am basically just used to it all.

It was earlier tonight though that I was dining at a small dinner cafe where I saw a family. There was a mother and a father with two kids. A boy and a girl who looked to be around 5 and 4 respectively. It was only when I carefully observed them that the scene before me was just breaking my heart.

Picture this. The Dad is only his smart phone swiping away. The Mum us also on her phone swiping away. One kid was just staring at the wall beside her in blank stare, and the boy was slowly chewing away his food staring blankly forward. This continued for at least another 5min before the mother spoke something while still focused on her phone without lifting her head. I don’t think her husband made any gesture of acknowledgement, but continued to use his phone. It was in the kids faces though. They looked like they were obedient at such a young age, but there was no joy in them though. The expressions they had were like they are just sitting there drifting through life… eating what’s in front of them only because their parents had said so.

After both the kids had put down their utensils, they sat there for another 5 minutes before the mother put down her phone and asked, all finished? The kids nodded politely. The wife then motioned over to the husband that they should leave. He didn’t look up but got up while still using his phone and only put it away after he quickly finish with what he was fiddling with. The family followed quietly after they gathered their belongings and left the cafe.

I know that it’s not fair to judge from an outside perspective. But just observing on what I saw, I vow to myself that I would end up like this family that I saw before me. Because of the convenience of technology, it is to blame here in this situation I believe. A family dinner outside should be a joyous and interactive event. Okay, it might not need to be joyous, but it is a chance for the family to interact at some level. But because of smart phones, it felt more like a disconnect with what should be more important. Family right?

Maybe they’re just tired. Maybe they’re busy trying to finish work, or communicate important business messages. Whatever the case though… what I witnessed tonight, I will try to make sure that that would not be a reflection of what will become.