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.

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