Monday, June 15, 2009

Can technology recreate the dining room table?

I have never understood the old adage that you shouldn’t ever discuss politics or religion. That’s because, growing up, politics and religion seemed to be the only two things my family did discuss.

I come from a big family. My mom’s the fourth of six kids and there are 18 first cousins. My mom and her siblings scattered after college but they all came home to my grandparents’ at least once--and often twice--a year. We'd cram into their modest house and sleep on beds, cots, the couch, floor and even, at times, someone was relegated to my grandfather’s old recliner. And the heart of their house was the dining room table. That’s where the action happened. Late into the night discussions of every topic on earth, but always either starting at or coming around to—you guessed it—politics and religion.

Both my grandparents have now been deceased for more than a decade and while that physical dining room table lives on at the home of one of my cousins, we haven’t been able to recreate the spirit of the dining room table since their deaths. Certainly there have been mini reunions. Groups of us have come together for weekend visits. But, we haven’t been able to get together with the entire family like we did back in the day. Time, distance, family commitments and the fact that my generation is busy producing and raising the next generation have kept us apart.

There have been virtual attempts, too. Various e-mail messages have been sent with intense discussions ensuing. But, inevitably someone has been left off the list and only gets part of the conversation. Or, someone forgets to reply to all. And there was one unfortunate incident where my sister decided to send a mass e-mail that she was planning to switch her college major to theology. A passionate and lengthy string of e-mails followed, which was great fun. The unfortunate part comes in that some of her friends were on that original message and found themselves on all the messages as we continued to reply all while discussing topics ranging from the world political order to Liberation Theology. I think those innocent bystanders were a little shell shocked to say the least!

In an attempt to better recreate that dining room table, I recently put together a simple group listserv for my family. While some embraced it fully from the start, there was initial hesitation from others. We’re still working out the kinks and I don't really know if technology can come close to recreating the feeling of that dining room table. What I do know is that I’m greatly looking forward to some in-depth and intense conversations about politics and religion. And, perhaps, a little family gossip as well!

Original post to DC Metro Moms. When Aimee Olivo isn’t talking politics and religion with her family she can be found talking about all sorts of other things at Smiling Mama or blogging about great family-friendly activities at Out by Ten.

Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama said...
I love that you created a listserv for your family! The next step is to check out Silver Spring based where you can create a family website and pass protect it. There you can use a template to create a site to share photos, schedule a family reunion using the calendar, and family members can write their own blog posts! It's free and easy and Tech Savvy Mama recommended!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

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