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The Real, And The Unreal

March 2010

     I enjoy watching the developing happiness of new parents as they first look forward to, and then experience the birth of their first child. This experience is the crowning touch to the marriage, and their pleasure is further enhanced when extended church family and friends support them, and shower them with well-wishes and congratulations.
     Home and family is one of life's most wonderful and fulfilling experiences. For a young man and woman, who been have joined in the happy experience of marriage, there is nothing quite like holding your own child, your own offspring, in your arms and realize the gift which God has given you. This is what truly completes the family.
     Well, parents are not long in finding out that children not only bring happiness, but are also a great responsibility. That bundle of joy comes with lots of work, loss of sleep, and interrupted schedules. However, when marriages are established on a firm foundation of true commitment and love, parents will make room for their children, in their home and in their hearts.
     Making time for what is important has always been a challenge. But it's not getting less so in our technology saturated world.
     A sad illustration recently caught my attention. According to a British news report, a South Korean couple let their 3-month-old baby starve to death at home while they spent all their time at Internet cafes, raising a virtual child in an online virtual reality game.
     Lavishing long hours of care and attention on this unreal child, they came home one day to find their real child dead. Apparently also, their virtual child had been given a beautiful name, but their real child had never been named.
     Virtual reality will never be able to do for people what real community will do. Homes are made stronger where there is a vibrant community spirit. This can come from extended family and friends, as well as the church. All of these make an important contribution to successful homes and communities.
     I fear the present onslaught of technology, and wonder where it will lead us. I know, much of it is praised by men, and advances are heralded as great steps forward for mankind.
     But are these technological advances helping us to be better people? Is all this gadgetry helping to build strong communities, where people connect with people? Is it making us more able to help young couples establish strong marriages, and assist them in the adjustments a new baby brings?
     I don't know what all went wrong for the couple from South Korea. But we know that it takes real effort to build and to nurture real relationships.
     God has given us real lives, with the potential for real friends. He wants us to establish real relationships. And the blessing is that this will bring real fulfilment, something which cutting-edge technology and raising a virtual reality child will never do.

- Mervin Brubacher,
   Barwick, ON

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