Category Archives: #connection

Reach Out and Touch Someone

There was a day when long-distance phone calls were few and far between. They were special, costly, and often reserved for special occasions. Unlike college students today, who can communicate via talk, text, tweet, Instagram, Facebook, vlog, blog, FaceTime, Skype, and write the occasional snail mail letter, we were only able to call and write snail mail. Making a regular weekly call home was a special thing for me. My two sisters were still at home, and I loved catching up with my family.

During my college years (and beyond), AT&T had a great ad campaign called “Reach Out and Touch Someone.” Several of the commercials featured college students who called home to talk to their families. Not only was the ad campaign effective overall, it resonated deeply with me, because I was the exact demographic they were featuring.

I found a fascinating video of Chuck Blore, who was responsible for that campaign, on the website. The video is just under six minutes long. I think you’ll enjoy it:

This commercial jingle came to mind as I reflected yesterday on the experience of exercising with my daughter. She is away at college, but through the wonder of technology, we got to share a 30-minute phone call while we walked/jogged. The tagline for the commercials: When a faraway voice sounds as close as you feel. Yes. She is 350 miles away, but it was like she was right there with me.

I’ve lived a long way from home for quite a few of my years. I’ve missed weddings, births and funerals because we were too far away to be there. There were times, though, that we drove huge distances to be there for someone, and those memories are qualitatively different than the ones we acknowledged with a card or gift. I wonder if an actual telephone call is becoming these days what “being there” used to be.

Of course, maybe that’s just me. Phone calls these days are often inconvenient to receive, probably because our phones are with us everywhere from the library to the bathroom to the theater to church, and we are so often multi-tasking as well. But as sweet as texting with my daughter is, there’s nothing quite like talking to her to feel connected. I think I’ll do it more often.

Do you enjoy phone calls? Are they becoming more infrequent for you these days?

The Shipping Connections

When you change your outside, your outside changes.
When you express what’s inside, everything changes.

I belong to a Down syndrome awareness/support group. The group meets every month for social events, and occasionally for educational events. Mostly interacting on Facebook, I believe I have attended two social events in the past 18 months.

Monday evening was the occasional educational event: a workshop on puberty. Never mind that I have four older children, two of whom are male. I have questions about this! Issues of personal space, awareness of social cues, and misunderstandings already are a reality for many people with Down syndrome. Add in hormones, curiosity, and sexual desire, and woohee, it sounds terrifying.

Needless to say, I attended the meeting. The leader, a 62yo woman certified in sex education, with 41 years of experience with the special needs population, had a lot to say. Less about puberty than most of us were expecting and a WHOLE lot more about parenting in general. She has seen the fallout from situations where parents do not require anything of their special needs children. It’s not pretty.

I came away from the event with some new things:

  • A kick in the butt to get on the stick with helping Kepler be as independent as possible.
  • The realization that I have a story to share. I have parenting experience that could be valuable to other parents and sharing my experience is stepping into something bigger.
  • Several in-person connections with people I had only talked to on Facebook or seen from a distance.

So what?

Kepler has been in his dance class since September. I rarely speak to anyone during practice. In fact, most of the parents there just read or look at their phones. This week at class, I caught up with Norma (the lady I helped with the parking issue), and Chris and Beth, moms who were at the puberty workshop. Chris and I had an across-the-room conversation about parenting our kids that I noticed several parents were listening carefully to. Two other moms even jumped into the conversation.

So what?

All of these things are happening because I am blogging; I am expressing what is inside me, what is in my heart, what I want to share with others. Reflecting on what I am experiencing is making my experience of other people very different. I’m starting to understand that shipping is changing how I am living my days, how I am thinking about things, what I am willing to risk, and how I see my contribution to the world.

Isn’t that cool?

What changes are you seeing in your life owing to the shipping you are doing?