Earlier today my colleague, John, posted the following as a Facebook status update: “One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is I will not have a conversation with you if, at the same time, you are reading your text messages and texting people. It is rude. I will politely say, ‘I’ll wait till you are done’ and attempt to make you feel as uncomfortable and awkward as possible. I don’t care who you are. You are not that important that the world will end if you are not on-line 24/7.”
I know how he feels. If you’re in the middle of a conversation with someone and there are constant interruptions from texts, emails, calls, etc., then the message that is sent to the real, live human being standing in front of the distracted person is that every other possible person in the world is more important than you. Anyone can at anytime cut to the front of the line electronically. That’s wrong. We can do better.
Focusing on those we are with, being present in the moment for the good of conversation, listening, understanding and relationships is a simple human kindness that is being lost in a world of too many distractions. The book Fish by Lundin, Paul and Christensen would simply say “Be there” in mind and body… focused.
I speak as one guilty of succumbing to the lures of technology when I should put them aside and concentrate on the family member, friend or coworker in front of me. Much of my life at work and play revolves around technology and I admit it is fun to be immersed in it. But people are more important than gadgets and we would do well to remember that.
Leap year lesson #6 is Be There.