Posts Tagged ‘africa’

Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.


altarboy2 Friday was a god day for me, I had time to catch up on some of my reading. I subscribe to 3 different Catholic newspapers and 3 different magazines, two Catholic and one political. The problem is time, when do I have time to read them all. Well Friday night I was able to slam through all the newspapers, than Saturday a new one arrived… UGH! But such is life.

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Last night I had a intimate chat with my nephew, he is a 17 year old young man who originates from Cameroon Africa. He has only been in this country for a few years, and I have only known him for 1.5 years or so, well maybe closer to 2 years now, but what ever. In truth he is not my natural nephew, I knew his dad, not very well, through the church I am youth minister at. His son was in the youth group, and to make a long story short, to help him and his boy out, i let his son move in with me, so now he is my nephew. But back to that chat.

Last night at dinner he is usually very quiet, and does not offer up much information, not much more that a grunt or two. But some of that is typical teen age communication but with him it’s also a cultural thing, he was taught to be seen not heard. And that’s what he tries to do, over the last year or so I have worked very hard to get him to open up, to talk to me and other adults more freely. It’s been a hard road, but it has had it’s moments, like last night.

the topic of our conversation is of no real concern for the point of this blog, what is of concern is the importance of intimate conversation. We have gotten away from intimacy in general, our conversations are done via text messaging on our cell phones, one of the latest trends is to text your boy friend or girl friend that you are breaking up. My nephew asked a young lady out via a text message. I was not happy and told him so, to me, asking someone out is an intimate act and should be done face to face, or at least over the phone, voice to voice. The ability to text someone removes the direct contact, removes the personal touch. It makes it easer to have no investment in to the relationship. Sure there are times that texting is called for, or Instant Messaging (IMing) someone one. I IM people all the time, unless it is important, unless it calls for intimacy than it is a face to face contact.

The body often times speaks more that the voice, we can learn more for the language the body is using than the language the voice is using.  With text messages and such, all that is lost, we speak in bits and peaces, using icons to display emotions and words that haven’t even been added to any dictionary as of yet.

When I talk with my nephew I always make sure I can see him and that he is looking at me, often times he looks down or away, and misses the body language of the conversation. I try to explain the importance of looking someone in the eyes when you talk to them, but in this world of texting it seems to make no cense. I am sure he would rather just text me a reply and be done with it.

This all to often is what most teens, and now even adults would rather do. We are loosing the ability to have intimate conversations by allowing our youth to continue hiding behind there phones. As parents and care givers we have a responsibility to teach our children how to be intimate, and we do this by example, but forcing them to look at us when they talk to us, but explaining that texting does not replace face to face or voice to voice, that important things are not reduced to “OMG” (Oh my god) or other such abbreviations, and that a 🙂 does not truly equal a smile.

If we continue down this path we run the risk of living in a world of no intimacy, just a quick text and off we go. So last nights conversation was truly of no great importance except he did communicate with me, he looked at me and he smiles and responded with feeling in his voice. That is much more than a text message ever can be.



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 “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest”
Mark Twain

What a true statement, when we do the right thing people always seem amazed. The other day I was talking to my sister and we were talking about a family that took in my nephew. He had moved out to the DC area and knew no one except my other nephew, and in truth they really didn’t know each other all that well. But as the story goes, he met a young man that lived in the DC area and they became friends, his family took in my nephew and is treating him as their own son. As my sister and I were talking about it, she said that she just couldn’t believe that they would do that, that she was amazed that a family would invite someone they did not know in to their household.

I had to take a moment to remind her that we do the same thing, that currently I have a young man from Cameroon Africa living with me, whom I did not know just a little over a year ago. That she has accepted him as one of the family and we treat him as if he was my child. He is part of our family and has been ever since he moved in over a year ago.

But we did not see what we are doing as anything great because we are doing what we are suppose to do, the right thing. We live our lives according to the standards we were raised and to the faith that we are called to. It is nothing astonishing, nor is it a great thing, it is, just plain and simple, the right thing.

To me it is more astonishing that people don’t do the right thing that they chose to ignore the needs of others so they can fulfill their own needs. Both my sister and I are tight on cash, she is without a job and I am currently going through a bankruptcy, but neither of us would ever consider not taking care of this young man, nor would we turn away others in need. We would open our homes and pray that God will bless us with what we need to survive. And so far He has, whenever we get close to that breaking point, we seem to always find away to make it, something happens and we receive the money we need, or the help we want.

So once again Mark Twain has placed his finger on it, he has captured in a few words the human condition, one that is sad, but true, doing the right thing often times is seem as extraordinary and ordinary. The human condition is in need of repair, start today and do the right thing, and marvel all your family and friends, and don’t boast about it, let the action speak for itself!


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