From time to time I am blindsided by the reality that what used to be a normal thing, is no longer normal. Or there is a new normal that is now defined by what is culturally acceptable. The crazy reality is that if we look at normal, it is more like a fluid then a block of ice. It is continually morphing to fit what is comfortable, easy, convenient, and socially acceptable. Here is what I mean.
While recently tuning in and out of a baseball game that was already over by the fifth inning, I came across a commercial that intrigued me. This wasn't because there was stuff blowing up or because it was a beer commercial (which are often worth watching for their stupid humor). In fact, it was a very poor commercial for an airline that was promoting its inflight wifi. What was intriguing was the plot that they used to promote this new advancement in flying technology! The scene was set with a mom having a conversation at home with her daughter about school and laughing about life. It took only about 10 seconds for it to transition to that same mom sitting on an airplane instant messaging that conversation to her daughter, full of lol's and haha's. The cultural message was clear... IM has the same relational value in our culture as sitting in a living room and talking about life. Meaning, there is no value for relationships in our culture.
This to me was one of the most clear and obvious ways that a very influential airline could slap the value of relationships in the face. It shows that the norm is no longer the normal. In a lot of ways though, this is the extent of relationships within the home. They are condensed to short IM style conversations that are void of any meaning, value, depth, or worth. The sad reality is that while there has never been an age in the history of the world where we are more able to communicate and connect, there has also never been an age in the history of the world where we have had to deal more with the reality of loneliness, insecurity, and a lack of belonging.
So, while the world is telling us that we can avoid relationships and still be connected, the old norm should tell us that if we want to actually feel connected, we should probably put down our cell phones, close our of our IM, minimize our video chat, and actually sit down and talk face to face. After all, being connected on wifi does not equate to being connected relationally, regardless of what our world is trying to sell.