Grandkids and Mobile Technology

Be Accountable

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Key Point: This blog is about my ability to embrace our 20-month-old granddaughter, Emilia, and (newly turned 9-year-old) grandson, Logan, in two different countries on the same day, while also working full time. Mobile technology does have its shortcomings; it can be oppressive if it consumes and isolates us from deepening relationships. On the other hand, I want to share two experiences with grandchildren (that happened the same day), which puts the benefit of mobility and technology in the most positive context; one that actually humbles me.

In the morning, I had a meeting with my executive team. The session platform combined two network technologies (Skype and TANDBERG). Furthermore, two members of my team were in downtown Calgary, four were in our Edmonton head office, one in a suburb of Toronto and me in our country home in British Colombia. We had an intense, video based conversation for four hours. The technology worked. We could hear, see, and feel each other’s views and emotions. At a break in our conversation, I picked up our 20-month-old (visiting from her home in Bath, England), sat her on my knee and introduced her to my team. How could they really know me without meeting Emilia? She sat quiet as a church mouse, intensely watching the smiling “oohs and ahs” on the other end of a 20” colored video screen.

When the meeting ended, my wife and I drove two hours to catch a plane to Seattle, where we landed and cleared customs electronically without talking to one agent. We then took an Uber to our condo on Mercer Island. Of course, no money changed hands in that entire app based transportation experience. From there, we  drove to our daughter’s house, where we could fully participate in our grandson’s birthday.

Turning 9 is BIG! We are also going to attend his upcoming third grade capstone presentation. His topic: Bioengineering and GMO. He fully researched the subject with assistance from Google and social media. He also invited a bio engineer as his expert witness from the University of Washington as a guest for the presentation.

Over his birthday dinner, he got a FaceTime call from his auntie, uncle and cousin, where by video, we sang out a vibrant rendition of “happy birthday.” Later, he received a very old technology cell phone call from his other uncle living in L.A. [Ed. Note: Oops].

During the birthday dinner, (I’m not making this up), Logan explained that his long term objective was to become a bio engineer and invent a robotic drone that captured the healing capability of plants from areas inaccessible to humans, then GMO the plant attributes to become even more beneficial in curing all disease. Ok, then. He described the drone and its artificial intelligence characteristics in incredible detail, much to the wide-eyed delight of his grandparents. Oh… His birthday present (bought while we were in Canada), was delivered earlier that day to his Seattle home by Amazon.

When I returned to our Seattle condo, I pounced on my iPad Pro, attended to work emails, and wrote this blog with full access to the web for inspiration and reference. My wife was simultaneously on her iPad looking after our personal banking needs and making payment obligations in two countries (while sitting in her PJ’s). WOW!

Now, I’m incredibly blessed and fortunate to have the resources to live a day like this. I fully realize many people may not enjoy the same privilege to be able to experience such a wonderful combination of events. I also appreciate working for an incredible leader and company that supports my ability to attend to very important personal family needs in parallel with meeting my business obligations. On the other hand, if we all keep the accessible benefits of mobile technology in perspective, all of our lives can be so much richer, regardless of personal circumstances.

Character Moves:

  1. Allow yourself to fully embrace every good thing about mobile technology and make it work for you!! I connected with both of our grandchildren and family in ways that were impossible as of two years ago… AND, I put in a “full days” work at the same time. The future is only limited by our imagination.
  1. Stop whining (if you do) about the impact and rapid change of mobile technology. Instead, embrace it to make your life richer in every way. Lucky us. We are only at the beginning. Imagine!

Loving technology and grandchildren in the Triangle,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Wow, is this the first story where a grandpa is raving about the technological capabilities of his grandchildren’s generation instead of ranting about the “good ole days?” What a time to be alive! Good thing I had the forethought to make that “old school” phone call in order to keep some balance. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis