Embracing the New

Embrace the new | Mary Lee writes
When the businesses first started using computers, my husband, John, purchased one. He insisted that I learn, but it really was not something I was interested in at all. I compared it to choosing a beef roast as a bride who had never cooked!  Of course, it was the day of the floppy disk, called floppy because of its flexibility. I took the challenge very seriously – using the computer as a play tool for entertainment, purchasing a game of pilot for John.

A little later, John bought a computer for our house through Jim Martin, and that’s when I began my fascination with the technical direction in which our lives were headed. I never read directions to anything, and my kids always shook their heads in despair. However, this part of my make-up made the allure of the computer appeal to me. Finally, I had something fascinating me and challenging me to figure it out by myself. It seems so trite now, but that first year I played and re-played the Christmas tree with blinking lights. And Jim gave me an important piece of advice, telling me that I didn’t need to be scared of trying new things, that I wasn’t going to “hurt” it. He made many trips to straighten out my messes!

I feel sad for my friends who have not embraced technology. Why do they say with pride, “I don’t own a cell phone”?  One refuses to text, “too impersonal.”  One doesn’t do email. They are missing channels of communication. Their children will be patient with their voicemails, but the grandchildren? Not so!

Last week, I was looking up a town in another state on the iPad and was on the phone with a friend who said she would get her Atlas. An Atlas, really? Did we have those?

John’s cousin is critically ill. His ten year-old granddaughter has been with me a good part of the time in the last two weeks. She lives in D.C., and when Stasi and her mother arrived, we made our first connection through my iPad and new games I had downloaded. It passed a lot of down time for her.

With all the bad things that can happen via the Internet, I think with careful monitoring it can be a tool for learning about others. I was sitting with an eight year old African-American girl one day whose mother was in hospice care, and she was visibly upset that Little Bo Peep in our iPad variation was a black girl. She stopped the video, telling me it was wrong, that the character is white with blonde hair. She asked, “Why did they do that to her?”

The computer has been a great way to keep in touch with friends. My college roommate and I are closer than ever with our almost daily emails.

And my children? They must be relieved that a quick text keeps us in touch, and they can choose their time for a long telephone conversation.

I am grateful that John could see forward, and that he encouraged me to keep up with the progression of tech in the 21st century. I play bridge, read, listen to books, FaceTime, Facebook, check the weather, plan a trip, find my location, chat with friends, email friends, and quickly contact friends with texting. Encourage someone to “join my club,” because if you are reading this – you are already a member.