Thursday, April 14, 2011

Till the End of the World

     I was told last year that I had wonderful hearing…for a seventy-year old.  Because I am not seventy years old the possible benefits of hearing aids were then explained to me; it might be better to look into getting them when I was younger, even if I didn’t quite have to have them yet.  “If you got a new DVD player, who would you want to hook it up and program it; your grandfather or one of your kids?” the nice audiologist asked me.  “Most people will answer that they would want their kids to do it because the younger generation knows so much more about current technology,” he went on to explain.  I can understand that.  It is easy for our kids because learning new technology is just part of the learning curve of life.  Our grandparents, on the other hand, are a bit more set in their ways.  (I think this was a gentler kinder way of saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”)  I was encouraged to think about getting hearing aids earlier (since it was highly likely I would need them later) so I could get use to actually hearing everyday noises.  “All of a sudden, you can hear the fridge humming, the floor boards creak, and all those other little noises that everyone else takes for granted so much that they don’t notice them.  It drives older folks nuts to unexpectedly hear all these new sounds all the time.   They have a hard time adjusting to the change.”

How are you when it comes to new technology?  Do you groan, hand the new phone to your daughter, and ask her to set your new ring tone?  Or are you the mom who sits down and is excited to play with her new toy?  How do your daughters see you in comparison to them when it comes to technology?  Are you regarded as wiser than herself? 

I have made it my business to know most of my daughters’ technology better than they do.  My girls can’t hide or delete their internet history to a point where I can’t find it.  I understand and can use more of the functions on our digital camera than my daughters.  My iPod is several generations newer than the one my children share (and that is saying something because mine is not new!).  However, I don’t know all the functions of their Nintendo DS’s nor am I better at playing the games on them.  My oldest can program her Lego Mindstorm robot with ease, and I have purposefully not learned how in order for that to be something that is done with Dad. 

I watch young girls curl their lips and sneer that they know more about the family computer than their moms do.  I see this young generation lose respect for their elders as our culture becomes less defined by the wisdom of age and more defined by knowledge of the latest and greatest.  Technology will get you ahead in life.  Our daughters see dollar signs flash in the (then) young eyes of the founders of FaceBook, Google, and Microsoft.  Our daughters see a culture that values the new fresh ideas of the young over the patient hard-work of their elders. 

I want my daughters to see me as wise in the ways of the world.  I want my daughters to come to me with questions of the heart and soul.  If they see me as “out of touch” or unable (and unwilling) to understand my cell phone; why would they come to me about cyber-bullying or the pressures of having (or not having) a FaceBook page?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you have to be the cool parent…just the one they talk to about anything.  I do believe that our cultural reliance on technology has been a huge factor in the increasing lack of respect that youth have for their elders.

Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning.     Ecclesiastes 4:13

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father.  Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.     1 Timothy 5:1-2

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