R U Here Yet: Why Texting is Good for the Family
by Charlotte Siems
A few years ago, text messaging on a cell phone seemed silly to me. What a dumb concept. Why would anyone text when they could just pick up the phone and call?
I have definitely changed my tune.
People will text you to tell you things they would never call you about. People such as sons in college and husbands and girlfriends.
I’ve spoken on a parent panel at a new student event for a university several times. I highly recommend to parents of new college students that they get an unlimited text plan if they don’t already have one. Most college students would rather text home than call home the majority of the time.
I’ve received messages from my guys such as this:
Guy: Guess where I am.
Mom: I don’t know—where?
Guy: Spending the night in a tent at a Chick-fil-A parking lot. It’s 20 degrees.
Mom: Uh, why?
Guy: Grand opening. Free chicken dinners for a year.
Mom: Nice. Don’t freeze.
Or how about this:
Guy: We’re leaving on our camping trip now. No cell phone service for 3 days.
Mom: When will you be back to civilization?
Guy: On Saturday. If you don’t hear from me by then, send someone to find us.
Mom: I’ll try not to think about it between now and then.
Then there’s the husband-and-wife text exchange. Besides the usual “Can you get milk on the way home?” type of conversation, things can get a little risqué. Which is fun and healthy for a good marriage.
Except when you accidentally reply to a Facebook SMS message rather than your husband. True story. I replied to my coach and mentor, Sandi Krakowski, with a text intended for my husband. She has a very busy wall with thousands of people interacting. My message included the word “cleavage.”
Actually the message wasn’t bad and it ended up as a very funny conversation on her wall. Hey, I love my husband, what can I say?
I have a good friend who is seventy years old and she recently got a text plan on her cell phone. She showed me how to use cute little emoticons in my text messages, so don’t think you’re too old to text. I felt pretty awkward with texting at first but it grew on me and now I spend far more communication texting than talking.
In my experience, texting can strengthen family relationships. We’ve sent a group text to grown children to let them know about an upcoming family gathering or tell them that a younger sibling is very ill. They’ve sent photos of their baby or photos of a special dinner date or fun time with friends. I’ve sent text messages to grown children telling them how proud I am of them, and they text back how much they love me.
Many people prefer texting because you don’t get trapped in a long conversation. You can be short and to the point. It’s a great way to touch base and connect on the go.
Husbands like the visual, written grocery list rather than a call. You can even take a quick photo of the package of a mysterious item so he can find it quickly on the shelf.
And if you have an iPhone 4, Face Time with faraway loved ones is amazing. I often forget we have it until a son in college calls with it. It’s so fun for everyone to pass the phone around and show him how things are at home.
Text messaging can improve family communication, and it’s quick and easy to use. This is modern technology at its finest, being used for old-time values like staying in touch and expressing affection in a family.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below!