A sense of neighborhood is priceless

To the Editor:

I grew up in a home that consisted of parents, grandparents, children, uncles, aunts and a variety of family members who visited on a regular basis.

I was able to socialize without ever leaving my home. The front porch was definitely a place where we interacted with the neighbors and friends on a daily basis. Having been brought up in a Hispanic family, Spanish was the primary spoken language. I spoke Spanish the majority of the time, although English was also spoken. There was never a time when I felt less important than others because my parents made sure that I was able to relate to others, both in English and Spanish,

One unique difference between my home today and my home now is that relating to others was always person to person. There were no technological gadgets used to relate thoughts and feelings. We ate meals together on a daily basis. I never ate at a restaurant until I was out of high school. There simply was no way for my parents to afford eating at a restaurant. The food at home made it possible for me to eat with other members of my family. The beauty of eating at home was that we could discuss a large number of issues with each other while sitting at the table. There were no misunderstandings of meaning as there can be on social media.

Today, the cell phone has become the panacea and instrument that is utilized to share our love for each other, and this is truly tragic. We no longer share our love for each other by touch and verbalization. That form of communication was more powerful than a phone or computer could provide.

Living in Sylva reminds me of living in my childhood neighborhood. I am fortunate enough to have neighbors who relate to each other on a regular basis with a great deal of love and affection. We all care about one another. I have been able to talk with some Spanish speaking individuals and I visit restaurants with Spanish speaking people.

Research has shown that people who socialize with others in a caring manner are healthier and live longer. Please make sure that you spend time sharing your thoughts and feelings with the people in your neighborhood, your church, and other venues in Sylva. It is through sharing a meal together and spending time communicating with others that we learn to live a more meaningful life!

Michael Gonzalez, Sylva