Tiny Glowing Screens

I sat on a chair made for a Kindergartner in the back of a dark auditorium waiting for my daughter to perform at her school Christmas program.

You can almost feel the nervous energy coming from the children and especially the parents like me who are not sure if their child remembered to bring their sheet music, instrument and every part of their costume including the reindeer antlers. 

The kids filed onto the stage, and the program began. 

That's when I took my phone out of my pocket and began reading email. 

I should know better. But I look around the auditorium and I see dozens tiny glowing screens in the hands of parents. 

I fall into the same trap at home where I've become a certified Black Belt in ignoring my kids so I can get my work done. Given that I work from home, this is a valuable skill to possess, but it can be overused to the point where I'm tuning out my family at 9 pm instead of helping to settle them down for bedtime.

This past week I spoke with a customer of Puget Systems who told me she uses her new Traverse laptop to video conference with her parents. I've spoken to fathers and mothers who are serving in our military who rely on computers to keep in contact with their children and spouses. One of the first computers I sold was to a father who purchased a laptop for his daughter who had accepted a job in Paris. He wanted to make sure the laptop included a webcam so he could see her face over Skype. 

Technology enhances lives. It bridges distances and allows us to communicate in ways that would make our ancestors green with envy. 

But there are times when it becomes a distraction. That email or text can wait. Watching my daughter take the stage and play "Joy To The World" on the piano is more important. 

May we all be a little more present in 2015 with those who mean the most to us, and may your days be merry and bright at the close of 2014.