This afternoon, the Grade 8 students at St. Mary Choir School (graduating tomorrow) put on a cabaret for family, friends and younger kids. All those sweet voices. All those smooth dance moves. And tons of smiles from the performers.
However, I was stunned by one reality of the gathering. As I looked around at the adults and high school students nearby, I saw six people spending a fair slice of the concert on their smart phones – texting, I guess, and cruising the Internet. Oh my. Here we have lots of performing 14-year-olds, and as they’re giving it their all, they look out at the audience and see many heads down. When a loved one was singing, I saw phones pointed at the stage, videoing the performance, but most of the tech use was not that. How sad.
Why is there so often a huge gap between the present moment and what people are focusing on? The here and now is precious – often joyous and sometimes painful, but all of it life. And we need to experience it.
I remember a few years ago, sitting in an airport lounge, waiting for the boarding call. A family of four took the seats directly across from me … mom, dad, a boy (about 12) and a girl (about 10). With nary a word, they each pulled out their handheld thingies and started tapping away. It could have been 20 minutes of silence and knitted brows. (Sigh) No eye contact either.
May we find a better way.