Sunday, May 13, 2012

Phone your mom -- or your child

Sometimes the "smartest" part of a smart phone is the remnant from that earlier big black object that used to hang on the wall.

Today is Mother's Day, and I just got off the phone after my adult son called from Toronto, three time-zones away. I'm used to initiating most of our communication by texting and email, but I melt with gratitude every time I have a conversation with him.  I bet most parents feel the same way, regardless of the age of their children. 

Earlier today, a friend mentioned hearing Molly Johnson, on CBC Radio2 "Weekend Morning", urging her listeners to "Phone your mom. Don't email her or text her." For most parents of any age, a voiced conversation resonates on many more levels than a text-based one, or even a Hallmark card. But research proves that there is a two-way benefit. In an January 5, 2012 article "PowRer of Mom's Voice Silenced by Instant Messages" on the Wired Science section of the website, Brandon Kelm has data that proves that "When girls stressed by a test talked with their moms, stress hormones dropped and comfort hormones rose. When they used IM, nothing happened." And he concludes, "People still need to interact the way we evolved to interact".

My son is much better at using the "phone" part of his Blackberry instead of the texting options. He sometimes calls me as he is walking or riding the bus. I confess that it is rare that I use my iPhone to call him. Often when he calls, I've forgotten to turn my ringer on. It's my loss in foregone serendipity. Cost is not a factor. My cell-phone account has the option of listing 5 long-distance number for unlimited free calling, and his number is top of the list.  I need to get past the fixed idea I have that a phone call is an event that needs to occur in a fixed context. I simply need to get in that habit of using my own transition time to call him. I will try to avoid boring a bus-load of people. But a few minutes of conversation would certainly transform bus-stops into sites of warmth and pleasure.

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