With Time Comes Change

April 11, 2013
On October 12, 2012, I interviewed my mom, Arlene Connell, and discussed with her the changes she has seen in America over the past 30+ years. My mom was born in America and grew up in America; she has not lived in any other country. Following is how she believes American values have changed, and why/how this has occurred.

Well, the first major value that my mom believes has changed in America is the value deeper social relations. While she says that is no doubt that the Internet changed communication overall, she says that the Internet has also brought forth many unwanted changes as well as the obvious positives. For starters, face-to-face communication “has been lost due to the invention of the Internet”. While we still communicate with other human beings, she says that the Internet has been the primary conductor of change in American relationships. Since we use the Internet, and our computers, to speak with other people, it can therefore be accurately stated that “communication has changed largely due to the Internet---emails, computers, etc.”. When my mom was growing up, she says that she used to call her friends and hang out with them in ‘real life’ whereas now kids text their friends and hang out with them online. This she says leads to “ease of communication with major drawbacks,” such as people not knowing their friends except through written words which are easier to forge. Because these words, and communication via text messaging, emailing, etc., can be largely falsified, she remained adamant that people nowadays do not truly know people on a personal level, but rather on a very superficial level. As a result of this lack of communication, she says that now instead of valuing personal connecctions, we instead value speed, which in turn has made us want, and need, instant gratification. While this need for instant gratification did not exist before, it exists now and has vene led to a need for constant connection.

Another change that has taken place in America regards our eating habits. When my mom grew up, she says that “she ate family meals every night and so did her friends”. Unlike today in America, eating out was only for very special occasions, and “even going to McDonalds was a special treat”. She also says that family meals were homecooked meals meaning that more things were made specifically for you and not for the masses. (For example, when you buy a frozen dinner, there are many more produced than just the one you are eating.) My mom also says that people now value constincey and conformity in products. People expect food to tast the same way wherever they go and “people do not like their food to taste differently,” part of the reason people like McDonalds so much…. Also, people don’t like homemade products because they taste different which people do not like. For example, my mom works in a hospital and has for the last few decades. However, while working at the hospital, she has noticed many changes over the years. One of the most significant though was that people now like consistency better. For example, about twenty years ago, the hospital began using mass produced jello, soups, etc. and people used to complain about how it tasted so bland. Now though, people say they love the food (it is the same brand, etc.). So, people’s ideals and values have created a change in what people want and what people expect.

Overall the latent consequences of changes because of diverenge from tradtitional ways of life has created what she refers to as “a greater negative society,” sort of ironic right?! Well, anyway, she says that because of our change in values and such, people have less time for “interpersonal social relations”. A prime example of this is meal time; people no longer eat together as a family. Also, communications between people are now very impersonal and things that are personal, such as personal notes, have pretty much become extinct and now are seen as a ‘real treasure’. Moreover, people’s values now are just different from what she grew up with, but that’s the way of the world—things change faster than we can ourselves.

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