“Mom, is there anything you don’t do well?” That came from Jaden, my twelve-year-old daughter, after a particularly arduous week tackling algebra and a To Kill a Mockingbird essay with a little help from me.
Clearly, I don’t do everything well, but the validation felt really good coming from a kid who I think is pretty extraordinary, herself. I might be slightly biased, but there’s enough evidence for extraordinary that some of my colleagues call me “Tiger Mom.” What they don’t know is that by Amy Chua standards, I would be a deadbeat mom since I only make my kids practice piano 30-45 minutes a day, and sometimes not everyday (gasp!).
All joking aside, I did ponder why I was the object of such adoration during a time when kids often retreat from their parents. And I believe it’s because I’m able to be around a lot and be present for my kids at their point of need. That’s because the collaboration tools that are essential to my productivity as an employee also give me the flexibility to work from home and still only be a video call away for my kids when I’m not.
The ability to be present at the point of struggle, at the point of discovery, at the point of accomplishment has been key to my close relationship with my children and in their development. But isn’t that true with just about any relationship? Don’t relationships with customers, partners and colleagues also flourish if you can be immediately present at their point of need?
The video collaboration technologies that are designed for faster decision-making, faster time to market and beating the competition are, in my world, really just about connecting people at their core.
And sometimes, at just the right moment, that human connection can make magic happen. Like when a project team germinates a pioneering idea in a virtual meeting room, when that global deal is closed over video from the back seat of a limo … or when Mom seems to do everything right. You never know when it’s going to happen, but you’ll be glad you were present when it does.
Soon enough, Jaden will discover what I don’t do so well … like trigonometry, and statistics, and making piecrusts. In the meantime, I’m happy just to be present – to bear witness to her growth and to hold her hand as she finds her way.
To my colleagues who rib me about being a Tiger Mom, I now have an answer: I’m just present. Video collaboration allows me to be a present mom and maybe, if I’m lucky, a better one.