While vacationing last week at the Oregon Coast with his young family, a staff member observed a disturbing trend: The inability of people to be present.

On a beautiful, unseasonably warm day in Seaside, hundreds of folks gathered on the beach, unfurling their towels and laying out on the hot sand.

Did they concentrate on the waves lapping against the shore? The children playing in the surf? Not at all.

Most eyes were riveted on their mobile phone screens. With God’s wondrous creation all-round, most beach-go-ers were zeroed in on Facebook feeds, pictures of kittens and text messages from friends.

Two women, with their backs to the sea — never a good idea — were so focused on their cell phones that a sneaker wave washed over them. They recovered, wet and shaken, and went on texting.

Social media, the Internet and computers have bettered our lives in many ways. They keep us connected, informed and have added many conveniences to simplify our lives. But more often than not, these devices have turned our attention away from being present in the moment.

Whether it be taking in the scenery or simply holding a conversation with someone, these once simple tasks of being present in the moment have deteriorated now to an obsessive glance at our cell phones to check the most recent basketball game score or incoming text.

Our children are watching these behaviors.

How often have we held up a hand asking them to be patient to hear an answer to their question while we shoot off a text message?

It’s time for all of us to step back, take a breath and start being more present in the moment, whether at the beach; in church; in prayer or with our families.

Set aside specific times to look at your device, spend time online or text back to folks. Be present!