December 20, 2018
Don't let distance get in the way of connecting with families this holiday season.
The holiday season is a wonderful time of year to reconnect with loved ones near and far. Seasons greetings fill the mailboxes, and while it's lovely to see photos of friends and family, nothing quite matches the joy of seeing and talking to someone face to face.
Technology has given us the gift of connection. And, how times have changed.
When I was younger, I vividly remember the series of events that needed to occur for us to connect with my extended family in Seoul, South Korea. The 14-hour time difference was the first hurdle, requiring military precision to catch our relatives at the right moment, as we were ending our days and they were beginning theirs. Next, we would huddle around the phone in the kitchen and wait patiently as my mom would dial what seemed like 20 numbers, and then hear her get patched through the operator.
If these things were successful, the crowning moment would be a five-minute phone call (any longer and it would be too expensive) with us speaking broken Korean in "loud voices" so that we could be heard over the scratchy audio connection. It was a connection, but not a fulfilling one.
Fast forward three decades and technology has given us the power to seamlessly connect with anyone, at any time, anywhere. Whether it's a messaging app or video calling, connections are merely a tap and a touch away.
Sure, we still have the time difference to work out, but thanks to video calls, my relatives in Korea can see my family, dog, house...they can 'hang out with us' while we cook dinner or watch us open presents during the holidays. Through this connection, my kids can interact with relatives, see what life is like in a Seoul highrise and teach their second cousins new words in English – no loud voices required.
It's pretty amazing to think how dramatically things have changed from my childhood to theirs. Holiday gatherings can be family gatherings, even if a large portion of the family is on the other side of the world.
There is no technology replacement (yet) to having family in the flesh, but these connections are a close second – and dramatic improvement over those scratchy calls of my childhood. Wall-to-wall fast internet connections have given us the ability to stay connected to families and keep those relationships stronger than ever.
It is a gift indeed.