Friday, August 1, 2008


When my dad was young, few people would hear about a job that was even twenty-five miles away. And if someone heard about a job in another part of the U. S., they would never go to interview for it because transportation costs were so high.

Today, with low cost information and low transportation costs, people can do nationwide job search, fly out for interviews, and move the household. So they do. I did. That is why my kids have not seen their grandparents in so long.

When I was young, we spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house. She lived five miles away. My cousins spent just as much time there, so I knew them well. I can count on one hand the number of times my children--the oldest is 18--have seen their cousins.

On the other hand, meeting people from around the nation is easy online. We could use more online resources to regularly visit with family. But we don't.

Why not? Is it that we value something physical about our families, but value something intellectual about online friends? Or is it that the older family members are not that interested in technology?

I can easily explain why families seldom see each other in person. But I find it much harder to explain why more people are building huge online networks of friends--but not family.

Perhaps I am an outlier. Perhaps mine is the only family that has not built strong online bonds.

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