What Steve Jobs Taught Us About Family

Few people in modern times have influenced the world as much as Steve Jobs. Among other things, he changed the world by shaping technology for common use and making it accessible to the average guy on the street. What teenager doesn’t have his earphones connected to an iPhone or iPod shuffle as he wanders the streets with his friends? How many of us now use our smartphone (pioneered by Apple and Steve Jobs) to manage our schedule, check our email, surf the web, text our family, buy a book, and even share business contacts? Jobs even impacted how the world views the look and feel of technology, making it inviting and cool to carry an iPad, or, oh-so convenient to carry my iPod shuffle with hundreds of my favorite tunes inconspicuously tucked into the old fashioned watch-pocket of my jeans. Truly, he was a technological wizard who transformed how we use technology and how technology intertwines with our daily lives. Even “technologically-challenged” people (like me) have learned to use the IPhone to keep their schedule, remind them of appointments, listen to their music, wake them up in the morning, read blogs and books, count calories, text their children, check their email, maintain their contacts (business and personal), track business expense…and even call a friend now and again. My teenage daughters do even more on their phones, revealing how “technologically-challenged” I really am.
Yes, Steve Jobs has transformed our world. But, have you heard what he did during his final days? 
       ·         “He surrounded himself with those most important to him: his wife and his children”  (<http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/10/07/steve_jobs_knew_his_time_was_short_focused_on_family_first.html>).
      ·         He noted that parenting was “10,000 times cooler than anything I’ve ever done” (<http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/07/technology/with-time-running-short-steve-jobs-managed-his-farewells.html?_r=4&pagewanted=1&ref=charlesduhigg>). That’s “10,000 time better” than shaping how we use the technology of a laptop, iPhone, iPod, and iPad in our daily lives. After making that statement, he added that “10,000 times cooler” was “probably an underestimation.” Parenting and shaping a loving, joyous family is the most important, and by far the “coolest,” thing any of us can do.
      ·         Most interesting to me is a statement made by Diane Sawyer about Steve Jobs’ final days. She noted that he was “dedicated to one last project so important that even the finest engineers at Apple couldn’t help.” What was that all important project? An anniversary present for his wife: a special hand-made box and a handwritten love note to his wife (http://news.yahoo.com/video/tech-15749651/steve-jobs-farewell-note-to-his-wife-26860828.html#crsl=%252Fvideo%252Ftech-15749651%252Fsteve-jobs-farewell-note-to-his-wife-26860828.html). The guru of technology did not send a final email to his wife, tweet a 140 character message of love, or even type (and spell-check) a love note on his keyboard to print out for her. He wrote a love note by hand to express his love for his wife!
The most important lesson we learn from Steve Jobs has nothing to do with technology. His most important gift to society has nothing to do with accessible and user-friendly technology. No, the most important lesson Steve Jobs taught is that family is our greatest treasure, our greatest comfort, and our greatest joy. Material wealth, fame, and influence do not bring happiness or joy. When we come to the end of our time on earth, we do not surround ourselves with iPhones, iPads, and iPods. We surround ourselves with family and friends. We seek comfort and joy in the personal love of family. Nothing in this world can even come within a “nano byte” of providing the comfort and joy we find in the love of family. This lesson is the greatest gift we receive from Steve Jobs…and for that I give him thanks.

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