As much as people like to complain about how technology has taken over everyone’s lives, there is no disputing the fact that it has made the world a smaller place. Stop for just a minute to really think about it.
- Yes, we see kids gathered in groups all with their heads buried in their electronic devices and none actually communicating with each other.
- Yes, we hear about kids (and adults) being cyber-bullied.
- Yes, we perpetually hear complaints about everything from education to politics.
But we also hear about a lot of other things.
- We’re able to share our congratulations when a new life enters the world.
- We’re able to send our condolences about the loss of a loved one.
- We can cheer on one another through job changes, relocations, lifestyle improvements and accolades.
- We can band together to aid in the event of a natural (or man-made) disaster.
- We’re able to log online and see each other in real time. Whenever we want.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I’m reminded of all the times I have been away from family during special times. When I was a kid, we didn’t live near any of my grandparents. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, birthdays… we sent cards. Long distance calls were expensive back then so those were pretty limited. As an adult, Scott and I lived in California for years. We weren’t near any family during special occasions unless we flew to see them. Phone calls were the norm for staying connected with a letter or card thrown in for good measure. Even when we returned to Iowa, that still meant we were away from his mom who lives in another state. Phone calls are fine, but advances in technology make the distance not seem so bad.
Thanks to social media, we have the ability to keep up to date with everything that anyone wants to share. Whether photographs from a vacation or an uprooted tree from a recent storm, we’re able to feel like we know what is going on in the lives of our loved ones and friends. Smartphones are the key. The 16 MP camera with full HD 1080p video on our Samsung Galaxy S5 allows us to preserve priceless memories for our own benefit or to share with others by uploading directly to social channels. Apps/sites like Shutterfly are great for creating memory books and can be done directly from our phones. Even HP printers offer us the ability to print directly from our phones even when we are out and about. Need a creative gift idea for grandma? Consider setting up a printer then encouraging family members to randomly print notes and photos right in her own home. Whether Mother’s Day or “just thinking of you”, what mom or grandma wouldn’t love that?
Aside from the social connection that smart phones and apps offer, the phones themselves are incredible tools for connecting. Apple’s iPhone 6 makes the distance much easier to handle. As an example, my MIL has “attended” birthday parties, talent shows and other performances that she physically couldn’t be at because she lives 650 miles away. When WiFi isn’t available, we can always count on U.S. Cellular’s 4G LTE network to keep us connected.
Last Saturday we dropped my MIL off at the airport after a week-long visit. While we all have trouble with saying goodbye, Miss K has an even harder time with it. The only thing that helps soothe the pain is a promise that her grandma will call her on FaceTime when she makes it home. It’s not the same as seeing her in person, but it does help.
So as Mother’s Day rolls around, take a minute to be thankful for the technology that allows us to feel like the distance isn’t so great.
What do you do to stay connected during the holidays?