If your world is anything like mine your phone is dinging, chirping, ringing or vibrating off the table all day long. While these digital burps feel like an electronic leash at times, they are a great way to stay productive and connect with people who live in other states- as I do with my extended family and close friends. There is certainly a ‘risk vs reward’ equation we calculate determining the importance of our time, but we seem to pay no attention to the byproduct of zipping through an inbox. We reply to communications in the same instantly gratifying manner we have chosen to receive them. I can tell you from experience that lack of attention here can bite you in unwelcome places.
I constantly encourage my son to pay attention, and while leading by example is important, I’ve found that showing the comedy of my personal errors to be well received. He likes these stories. Even though I’m not sure he understands my point, he certainly enjoys hearing about Daddy’s infallibility.
When Google Hangouts (http://www.google.com/hangouts) came out I paid little attention. There were so many options available already that I used frequently- texting, IM, Google talk…. The concept of a “hangout” did prove useful when my best friend and his six children – now living in four different states, using multiple platforms- created a thread that provided a ‘next to the water cooler’ kind of interaction, keeping all generations up to date. Around holiday time my phone was going crazy with updates. I found that the one time I had to reply was… Well… In the little boys room. And why not? Where I send a text from is my own business, right?
Little did I know that someone had upgraded the hangout to a video conference. When I clicked the invite to join a 4th of July hangout, I almost showed up with my, uh, flag unfurled…
As I teach my offspring about situational awareness, I’m well served to instill those practices in a world he probably knows better than I – and practice what I preach. If for no other reason than to spare him the embarrassment of having me as a parent. (as If that ship hasn’t long since sailed, right?)
‘Course, that’s just how I see the world. Your view may differ.
Reprinted with permission from AroundAboutMedia – August 2017