Dec 12, 2005

Happiness Through IM and E-mail?

Dennis Prager asserted on the "Happiness Hour" of his radio show today that technological means of communication such as instant messaging, text messaging and e-mail allow greater clarity during arguments and greater intimacy when expressing love. WOW! I think he is really on to something here!

He's right that in a verbal argument, the "bully" always wins. The person with better verbal skills has the upper hand and the whole point of the discussion is to wait until the other person shuts up so you can articulate your point, which frankly you seldom accomplish in a heated argument. Dennis recommends going to separate rooms and IMing each other! Really - it is not a bad idea!

The written word allows you to - really forces you to - think through your position. You're also less likely to say hurtful things if you write them down and think about them first. And many people feel too vulnerable expressing loving thoughts face to face, but could probably do it fairly comfortably with writing.

This is actually something I've been thinking about lately on the recommendation of a friend. One of my second-grader's assignments for the year is to keep a daily journal where she's expected to write a paragraph every day. She is not inspired. My friend recommended that I write questions to her in the journal every day and let her decide what to answer and when. What a great idea!

It got me thinking that, not only would this improve her writing skills, but it would also increase our knowledge of and love for each other. I can ask her what skills she would like to develop and why, what or who she loves and why, what she thinks I love and why, etc... The whole concept seems so obvious and beneficial that I'm shocked I didn't think of it myself!

I've also remembered that my parents advocated "love letter" writing as part of the pre-cana program they lead. And, as Dennis said, we wouldn't know nearly as much about historical figures such as John and Abigail Adams were it not for their love letters. He also took a call from a woman who lost her husband to cancer in August. He was an Air Force retiree and had many friends around the world. The friends kept track of his condition by e-mail and expressed their great love for him and how he had affected their lives. The woman kept the e-mails and is making a memory book for their nine year old son. Powerful stuff.

Prager also said that, while a mirror reflects our physical being, our writing reflects our soul. It is what we think and how we feel in physical form. So, here's to technology, the written word and greater happiness. Blog on.

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