by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online
This Thanksgiving I learned a lesson on how technology and the private sector Free Markets can have the power to connect us, or pull us apart, depending on how we use it. Let me explain how.
I didn’t know my grandfather well, I was very young when he passed on, but I knew of the connection my mother had with her father, and through her I grew to know and love the man. He was an outdoorsman, he loved to hunt and fish. My father is an outdoorsman of another sort, he would rather busy himself with raising his Angus cattle and hard outdoor chores. Gordon was never like that. He would rather go to the stream or the woods and be at peace while he pulled a trout out of a stream with his fly rod or took down a deer with his bow.
I was not privy to the mentorship of Grandpa Gordon, being so far separated by time, but I felt that this year I bonded with him a little and found out what it was like to stalk a deer in the quiet woods. I bought a bow online from Precision Shooting Equipment online and I’ve been practicing for two years. Armed with arrows I bought at Fleet Farm I hid in a ground blind tent I purchased as well. I didn’t get anything, but I spent some quality time in the woods, with the spirit of my grandpa.
Now I didn’t pick up any hunting tips from Gordon, but I did do some research, and I picked up a thing or two. You can learn a lot on the Internet, from how to stalk a deer, to the selection of equipment, to how to gut it and skin it in the end. Pretty cool. Thanks to the Internet and private sector business, I was able to bond with my late grandfather this Thanksgiving, way cool.
There is another way technology can connect us. My twin brother lives in Colorado, far from here. He and his family were unable to join us for dinner because of distance and his work obligations. But with the help of my Macbook Pro and Skype, we were able to see and talk to him as we ate dinner. He called just before noon and gave us a tour of his buddy’s house where they were having dinner and we got to chat a bit. I connected the laptop to the big screen TV at my parent’s house via USB cable so that everyone could see him from far off without leaving the table. Everyone thought it was a good idea and commented that it was almost like having him here in person. Score two for business and technology. Thank you Steve Jobs. Thank you Skype creators.
Ah, but there’s a dark side of technology and entrepreneurship too. While I was able to bond with brother and grandfather this holiday season, others used technology to disconnect. You see some of my younger relatives, children of my brother and cousins, took advantage of the technology to get onto Facebook and other social media to play games and connect to friends rather than socialize with family. Me, I could live my whole life without candy crush, but some prefer it to the dry banter of older relatives on the holidays.
You see, while I was connecting to my family, my brother and my late grandfather, and using technology to connect others as well, others were disconnecting and that’s the point. The technology is great, but sometimes you have to set the tablet or iPhone down and talk to people.
I’m grateful for this lesson and grateful to the entrepreneurs who brought us these great gadgets, the Internet and social media, my bow, my Macbook Pro, and Skype. I will always try to use them to enlighten as well as entertain, and keep connected with my family, who are the real blessing of the season.