It is the start of a new year in our household and there is so much to look forward to. We are in the throws of basketball season. Our two oldest daughters have cheer and dance duty at many of the school basketball games, so we get to enjoy the halftime shows and games all at once.
One thing I really enjoy is that time I get to spend visiting with other parents in the bleachers. As a society, we are always in a hurry to get from one activity to the next, we really do not take time to visit and catch up with the other people in our community.
I am guilty of rushing from one school to pick up a child and to another school to pick up the next. I am always in a hurry to get my children to practice and rehearsals, I don’t have much time to do more than roll down my window and holler a hello to another person or child. I hate that, I like to know and connect with people.
One of my mom friends recently told me about a phone application called, “Marco Polo.”
We were sitting at our boys’ baseball field practice, and I looked at her like she was crazy. The only Marco Polo I knew about what a game my children play in a swimming pool. One kid yells, “Marco” with their eyes shut. The other kids yell, “Polo” and attempt to swim away from the Marco kid to avoid getting tagged. When I told her that, she laughed and pulled out her phone to show it to me and explain how it works.
When I got home, I downloaded the application to my phone and proceeded to add her and another friend to my contacts. I sent my first “Marco” video to both of them that night and then they sent me a “Polo” video back. Is it ridiculous? Yes. Do I feel more connected to my friends throughout the day? Yes. It is completely awkward to talk into the video application and watch myself but it’s a personal live message and conversation we can keep going for days and even weeks.
I have recently taken on a community project that will require me to do a lot of visiting with other people in several different Arkansas towns and counties. I have thoroughly engrossed myself in listening to people with backgrounds different than my own. I am loving every minute of it.
If I had to choose between a Marco/Polo video exchange and live conversation in a personal meeting or setting, I would choose the latter every time. I love people, I love to talk, and I love bringing people together to connect them with our community in a meaningful way.
I should probably have some health and fitness goals for 2022 in my list of new year’s resolutions, but I don’t. I want to do more visiting with people this year. I am excited about doing significant work to make our state an even better place to live than it was last year.
Happy New Year! I hope we get to visit very soon, neighbor.
Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’