The Jumbotron Lesson

On Friday we attended our daughter’s college graduation down in Virginia. The event was held in a big convocation center on campus and the Jumbotron that hung in the middle of the venue broadcasted the close-up view of all that was happening on stage. Unfortunately, there were two administrators on stage that captured my attention.

One of the gentlemen was not paying attention at all. I couldn’t tell if he had a cell phone or an Ipad in his hands. He definitely wasn’t watching the graduates cross the stage. He was about as disengaged as he possibly could be and he was in perfect view on the Jumbotron as every graduate stopped to have his or her picture taken with the President of the school. The other gentleman, to his right, was fully engaged! Smiling and laughing when appropriate. It was such a dichotomy.

I am not judging the first man—maybe he had a perfectly good reason to be distracted. I am simply pointing out for you and me that it’s obvious to all when someone is distracted and disengaged—they aren’t fooling anyone. Although you and I may not find ourselves on a Jumbotron, we also aren’t fooling anyone when we come to an event/meeting and we are disengaged for whatever reason. I felt embarrassed for this man and I want to prevent that for us.

Think about a recent meeting, work or social, that your mind was elsewhere—even if you were on Zoom or Teams AND your camera was off (yes, off). The act of being disengaged gets picked up by everyone! And, we get judged for it. So think about how you are showing up everywhere! Which gentleman do you want to emulate? There is no greater gift we can give to another person than to be fully engaged. These two men spent the better part of two hours showing me that.



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