Technology really is amazing. Just the other day I met a young man. who recently moved to the United States from Baghdad. He’s alone here, all his family remains in Baghdad. We talked about the experience of leaving one’s home to begin living in a new country. I asked if he ever uses Skype or iChat or Google Talk to talk with his family.
“I Skype my mother every morning,” he told me. The pleasure at this small touch he has with home and family was palpable. I couldn’t help thinking how amazing technology is, how it let’s people stay in touch with family and friends in a way that simply never was possible before.
I recently spent a week in Dubai. Yet, every evening I was able to iChat with my wife. What a pleasure it was not only to be able to hear her voice but to be able to see her as well, even if she was in yesterday when I was in today.
Now, today, Christmas day, think how many people are going to be able to touch each other as they video call throughout the day. It wasn’t that long ago that even a phone call overseas was an expensive and almost exotic thing. Not today. Fire up the computer, log onto your preferred video-call program, and you’re connected: You hear and you see, and it’s free. Simply awesome!
The problem with technology is when we abuse it, when it controls us rather than us controlling it. This holiday day as countless people sit down to special meals with family and friends, do everyone at the table a favor: Turn off your phone. Focus on the people you are with. No calls, no IMing, no texting, no surfing, no social media just for an hour or two. It’s one of the best presents you can give to the people you are with: Your undivided attention.
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About the author
Since 2004, Peter Post has tackled readers' questions in The Boston Sunday Globe's weekly business etiquette advice column, Etiquette at Work. Post is the co-author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business" and conducts business etiquette seminars across the country. In October 2003 his book "Essential Manners For Men" was released and quickly became a New York Times best seller. He is also the author of "Essential Manners for Couples," "Playing Through–A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Golf," and co-author of "A Wedding Like No Other." Post is Emily Post's great-grandson. His media appearances include "CBS Sunday Morning," CBS's "The Early Show," NBC's "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and "Fox News."