Meal Time

If I was to assess the change, which I have undergone in recent years, I would say that I am a much quieter, less reactive individual.

I am comfortable being silent, even when I am in the company of others, and the nagging need to fill the silence with the sound of my own voice has been largely overcome.

If I eat a meal alone, which I often do, I will relax with my phone, looking at YouTube clips of comedians and politicians and religious leaders and the Royal Family and sporting moments which connect me to my interests.

However, if I am in the company of others whilst eating a meal, I consider it to be disrespectful to be engaged in phone gazing during the meal time.

In saying this, and having experienced at first hand, as a father of teenage children who have now reached adulthood, I can sympathise with parents who struggle to extricate their teenagers from their phones at meal time.

Whilst on holiday, one evening in Portugal, my wife and I went for a lovely meal to a Chinese restaurant.

On the table next to us, was a family, a mother and father with three children, all boys.

The parents and the older boy were all engrossed in their own mobile phones throughout their meal, whilst the younger boys aged approximately nine and seven, amused themselves.

I felt saddened by the scene.

I feel I am being judgmental in saying this, but in response to this observation, I say only that I have been there myself, in years gone by, for at least periods of time over a meal time.

I think in recent years the temptation to use our phones now they are an integral part of how we run our lives, has made their attraction and our addiction to them, even worse.

It seemed to me, that the parents were missing an opportunity to deepen their knowledge and love for each other and also for their children, but perhaps, for all I know, they had been fully engaged in occupying their sons on the beach throughout the day and now this was family chill time.

For me, meal time was a time to look into my wife’s eyes, hold her hands across the table, and connect with her at a deeper level, which gives our marriage, in the difficult reality of our situation, a better chance of  seeing us through to the end of our lives.

My next blog will be: Ecumenical Revolution

William Defoe



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