Not so long ago my Mom asked my youngest daughter to rewind a DVD.
And there was a very long pause while we all tried to figure out where the breakdown in communication occurred.
My youngest doesn’t remember VHS—or cassette tapes, for that matter. She has never had to rewind anything. She has also never had to make sure she is sitting in front of a TV at the specific time her favorite program starts. The fact that our DVR is filled with episodes of Worlds’ Cutest, The Secret Life of Cats, and Cupcake Wars is evidence I still haven’t mastered the technology myself, but she certainly has. (There are also myriad college football games, because my husband mastered the DVR, but not the online family calendar.)
I’ve tried to compare the generation gap between my Grandma and me with the one I witness between my kids and parents. (Grandma was in awe of the auto-correct feature on the typewriter she bought me as a graduation gift. Yes. I know. So last century.)
My mom really tries to stay up with the times. She joined Facebook—so she could “keep up with everyone”—though we have to remind her it’s not necessary to sign all her comments, “love Gma”. Her grandkids occasionally wonder why their seemingly ancient prom photos start showing up in news feeds. “Grandma hit ‘share’ instead of ‘like’, I explain.
Willingness notwithstanding, new things are not easily con-quered. We’ve come a long way from “picking up the phone” to answer it, so I try to be patient as Mom learns the concept of swiping a screen. I just wish the ringtone wasn’t set to a duck quacking while she’s on the learning curve.
My dad wisely pays for tech support, and I’m really glad he can call a toll-free number (from his landline) so the helpful support personnel can ask if his computer is plugged in. Because occasionally, the cords get in the way of a scuffle between the dog and cat. He’s a good sport and self reports these incidents.
I’m not such a good sport. But I learn quickly. Once I knew my boys could get on my phone and figure out how much time I
waste spend playing Words with Friends, I quickly figured out how to lock my phone!
Technology has made it impossible for a parent to hold on to “because I said so.”
Once your kids have access to Google, you are 47.2 seconds away from being proved wrong.
But there is always room to learn, and great bonding opportunities for the generations.
While my Mom may or may not occasionally consult the Worldbook Encyclopedia collection she invested in for me as a child (complete with a decade of annual updates), my kids are determined to show her the miracles of the Internet.
Which is why I overhear conversations like this:
Mom: “I wonder…”
Littleone: “Grandma, just ask Siri!”
Mom: “Is that the know-it-all computer lady?”
Littleone: “Yes. Here, just ask her.”
Mom: (into her iPad): “Hey Shirley…”