Take the time, updated

baby

I’m reblogging and adding to a post from March 2009, four years ago.

On that day, I wrote:

My cousin died in a car accident over the weekend [remember this was posted four years ago]. Your cousins may or may not be close to you. My family in many ways has never been close, but on the other hand I had no brothers and sisters, and my cousin was born within two hours of my own birth. He was the relative I was closest to growing up, though we lived an hour apart.

We’ve kept in touch mostly through third parties–my mom would hear from his mom, etc. I kept meaning to talk to him, but I kept thinking I’d spend some time with him at the next family reunion. Thanks to life challenges in both our lives, though, as well as the fact that no one in our family bothers to organize family reunions, that never happened.

I didn’t even find out he had been killed until yesterday, and the funeral in West Tennessee was this morning. Opportunity gone.

He has had a tough life. We could have helped each other. Coulda woulda shoulda helps nothing and no one.

Communication doesn’t just happen. It takes effort; it takes consciousness; it takes attention. Is there someone you need to talk with? Do it today.

It’s only been four years, but it seems much longer than that. Yet in that short time, much has changed about the way I communicate with friends and family.

I haven’t seen my middle daughter in a couple of years. She has gotten married since I last saw her, but she lives far enough away (and finances are tight enough) that we haven’t been in the same space in that time. I haven’t met her husband, and haven’t seen my first grandchild.

On the other hand, through Facebook and Skype we’ve kept in fairly close touch. I’ve been able to hear and see that new baby. It’s not the same of course. I can’t hold him, can’t get pooped on. But it’s better than just a few years ago, when years apart meant little or no contact at all.

People worry about electronic communication interfering with real human communication, and the worry is justified. But at the same time, I’m able to maintain a higher level of contact with more people than ever before. It gives me a way I can afford to make the effort and pay the attention to people I would otherwise miss completely. I think that’s a good thing.

What about you? Have you made that needed contact?

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Author: Donn King

Donn King works with people who want to forge top-notch speaking skills to increase their influence and impact so they can advance their career or business. He is associate professor of communication studies at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as a speaker and writer. His background includes ministry, newspaper, radio, small magazines and other publications, as well as co-authoring a textbook and blogging.