Deep down, I think all any of us really want is to connect to someone around us.  Albeit to varying degrees, we all want to have a sense of belonging, a sense of being understood, a sense of being cared for and a sense of being listened to. In return, we want to reciprocate and mirror these feelings to at least one other human being out there.

Recently I’ve been deeply touched by an outpouring of positivity on a newer project of mine. I’ve been organizing a group of people who want to come together and discuss how technology affects the modern family; both good and bad. What’s amazed, flattered and moved me isn’t just how many people were interested in the project. What has stood out the most is how many have thanked me for my efforts.

It is in that moment that I’ve realized how much this simple connection means to us. I know that many parents, children, teachers, relatives and mentors struggle with similar questions about how to integrate and prepare for this world that insists on evolving at light speed. There’s no right answer, but the discussion seems to be an important one for an increasing number of families.

With a simple idea, we reached around the planet and connected so many separate people questing for the same answers. Our problems, families and issues are all different but at the root of it all, we’re all intrinsically the same. No matter what type of tech question or challenge came up, I keep hearing the same solution: build a good foundation and be open to communication.

It’s such a basic human need. To understand and be understood, to love and be loved, to listen and be listened to…

…and sometimes it’s the internet that fulfills that need.

Through this electronic connection, I find so many communities and they all fill different roles for me. Facebook connects me to my close friends and family, Reddit fulfills my inner geek and need for debate. With Skype I maintain friendships face-to-face, even when they move away. And Google Plus gives me the chance to discover new people, both in text and through face-to-face communication.

These interwoven webs of people are driven by common ideas, regardless of location. The world begins to shrink.

  1. you placed yourself into a prominent leadership role, one that you feel passionate about and resonates well with others. other people may have the desire to create that outlet, but you have the drive and also have the connections to bring those people together that other people might not. That’s special, as are you.

    growing up i had a lot of self-esteem issues, never really felt that i was special or achieved anything great. later, i felt more comfortable with myself, but never self-promoted or used that to drive vision or process or bring a group of people together. as i became a better educator, a better person, a better businessman, i learned (and am still learninig) how to promote myself, drive my visions, use it to make the strengths in other people and myself shine. I try to balance this with a degree of humility and modesty without shortchanging myself. it’s tricky.

    monday was my birthday. Until two years ago i kept my birthday a very tight secret, something that i had done since i first entered college, so for about 20 years. Two years ago this abruptly changed for reasons that i outlined in a blog entry that i’ll link to here:

    this year i organized and put on a contemporary music concert on my birthday, and the entire day my phone kept on buzzing with facebook notifications regarding it. I ended up having roughly 200 people of my facebook friends take the time to wish me a happy birthday.

    It was incredibly gratifying and oddly humbling. I go through life trying to be an influential force in people’s lives, to make them into better people, and through a rather lengthy mental process i developed a habit of doing this with no expectation of anything in return. I know i do great things, but i try not to let that get to my ego, i keep on trying to improve myself so that i can best serve people to serve themselves, if that makes sense. monday was proof that i’m at least somewhat successful in that, that so many people, even if they never have much real interaction with me these days, decided that it was worthwhile to acknowledge my birthday, and the degree to which i was flooded with that acknowledgement was staggering and wonderful.

    I see you in that way too; you’re a Force, someone who has a genuine care for your real life and virtual community, your kids, &c, and has the tools and the drive to be the sort of Force that people look up to and feel inspired by. But you don’t let that inflate your ego in a way that alienates friends or strangers and don’t let that interfere with the genuine you.

    you’re a great person, you deserve to be proud of who you are and what you’re trying to do as a person and as a mother.

    • Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

      I actually take birthdays very seriously and I feel that everyone should have a day they are celebrated just for being them. I wished I’d known it was you birthday, I make it a point to call and sing (badly).

      I’m deeply happy that your birthday this year was so beautiful and profound for you. I hope that you have many more to come that are equally is satisfying.

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