Consider Communications

Like many of my generation, I have a love-hate relationship with advances in communications technology.

I love it when, during a single day, my wife and I can have important career conversations by text with one son in China, chuckle at dog photos from another son in Texas, message with a "daughter" in South Korea, and watch videos of a "granddaughter" in California. I need it for heart-to-heart emails with my sister in Oregon. I love it for talking with and seeing many of these people in real time, face to face through Skype.

I enjoy the freedom that this technology provides me to keep in touch with both work and family when I travel, or escape to the cottage on summer weekends. It makes me far more productive than I was able to be years ago.

And that's a good thing because, with all of the convenience has come the expectation that everybody is "on call" every minute of every day.

Which is but one of the many downsides of our technological progress. Another is that people can communicate so quickly that they are prone to do so without thinking. 

Another is the frequency of solicitations and the stupidity of most social media that tends to swamp my inbox. The "unsubscribe" feature cannot cope with the flood of foolishness.

I recall reading a biography of John Adams, masterfully created in large part from the letters written by his wife Abigail. It amazes me that when she wrote a letter to a person in Europe, she knew the letter would not be received for several months, and that she would not get a reply for half a year.

That was not necessarily a better time, but I imagine each word was given greater consideration as it was penned and posted.

Posted in: Technology


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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 45 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for nine years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is chair of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation for 2018.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.