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By Jesse Utz 

Incorporating the "No Fly Zone"

Jess Shut Up


Last updated 4/29/2015 at 1:45pm

I can’t help but think back sometimes in our country’s past and our great grandparents’ time and wonder if that time was harder or easier.

I mean, obviously there was the great depression and that was very hard. Also when the pilgrims first arrived, that time must have been a scary time at first but they soon developed their groove and figured things out. It would also be justified to mention our country during war torn times and the torment our families went through daily.

There are, of course, things today that we battle that they did not have to contend with on a regular basis. Some might consider some of the technology advancements a bonus, making life easier, but they also weaken us a bit too.

For example. We are so connected with each other by electronics that we even socialize everyday with people from around the world without batting an eye. We can tell the whole world that we are eating a Tee Pee Burger at this moment with the touch of a button. We can shop for hard-to-find Nikes without getting up out of the Lazy Boy. We can even watch a video on how to make a soufflé while doing yoga at midnight. The world is available to us at every thought or whim.

Technology is not a bad thing. I mean I love my Hopper that records our favorite TV shows, but sometimes I think we are losing some valuable skills while our thumbs are driving out a thousand text messages a day. Communication with a human face is a big one. Of course, you are saying, “I do that, I Skype with Grandma every Tuesday night.”

Yes, that is good, but what about the touch of Grandma. The gentle rubbing of your head as she walks buy. Sometimes, we are so connected to the rest of the world that we neglect what is right in front of us. We watch the news whenever we want, we get updates sent to us as soon as the Mariners score, (OK, bad example) and every time a favorite Grumpy cat posts a video we know about it and are watching it in the middle of PE without a beat. During dinner time, the worst, constant interruptions from boys and girls who are also having dinner somewhere and not using their thumbs to lift a spoon but to type, “Did you see what Johnny did today on the bus, OMG, LOL, SYL.”

As we get connected via “smart” everything, we get unconnected to some of the biggest fountains of life. Our real relationships. Grandparents, neighbors and even our own parents sometimes get pushed to the side momentarily for a text from Suzi who want to let me know my new kicks are pretty fly. That momentary pause in my talk with Uncle Buck as he was telling me about the moment in his life, which changed him forever, caused a slight ripple in conversation that changed things.

You see, when you answered the text, you told Uncle, or whomever you were face to face with, that there are things out there that are more important than him or her. The moment loses its momentum and fades away. Maybe never to be revisited.

In the past, there was a thing called the front porch. On this porch, family’s came together and talked about past memories and future endeavors. Homemade lemonade or sweet sun tea was sipped as Aunt Lou talked about her engagement, Pastor Steve shared the Good News and Mommy explained to sister where babies come from. We also gathered together at a place called the dinner table, a place where recipes from the mind of grandma came to roost and fill our stomachs. Words flowed in between mouthfuls and the day’s events were shared and we understood why Dad was in a foul mood and little Jamie had a black eye and why we were moving next spring. We understood each other a little better.

So I challenge you all to incorporate a “No Fly Zone” once a day for an hour or two. The Internet goes silent during this time, phones are shut off and the TV is shut off. You come together with your household and you talk. Using actual words not, LOL or BRB, but real words with heartfelt desire behind them. Words like, “I missed you” and “I love your ideas” and ‘tell me more about this boy named Brad.” Let’s communicate again and get closer as a family and community.


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