Last month, while my partner and I were living on the warm springs reservation, we’d often eat at the local tribal restaurants, not just for the food, but for the experience of community.
One evening at dinner, I took notice of a grandson and his grandfather who sat close by. After they sat down, I sensed an immediate disconnect as the grandson whipped out his phone to scroll through Instagram and Facebook. I empathized with the Grandfather’s look of disappointment and dis-connect while his grandson smiled from the connection his device brought him. As the phone sat open on the table and full of the grandson’s attention, the grandfather sat looking around the room, attempting to talk to those around him about his day. His stories and conversations filled the room with laughter and intrigue, while the grandson continued to scroll.
Witnessing this particular interaction really stuck with me, and afterwads I thought about the times I used to spend with my Nanuk. Back then, cell phones were too big to carry around in your pocket and the only way to connect with people was face to face or the landline at home.
I remember mostly spending my time at the dinner table as I watched my Nanuk bake bannock and boil caribou bones to feed us the “buddock” fat.
I remember her stories of being displaced from the land and moving into “boxes” and sensing the pain in her voice as she looked back fondly on her life on the land.
After witnessing the grandfather and grandson’s disconnection, I remind myself of the importance of community and connection that was once deeply rooted in our culture. To give someone our full attention is to love – because Love & Attention mean the same thing. What we give our attention to, feeds their love and nurtures its existence. I love my partner, my friends and family and will always aim to feed them with the love and attention they all deserve, without the distraction of my phone.
I will always carry this traditional way of loving no matter how modernized I become.
– caroline blechert