Family Frolics: With technology, parent becomes the student

When we decided we would have children, we knew we would have to be the ones to set the example, be the teacher, and lead the way. At least that was how it was when I was growing up. Why else would it be any different?

Someone forgot to tell me in the ’80s that the 2000s would usher in so much technology that there is no way someone who is creeping up on 40 years old could ever keep up. This past weekend I learned how really out of touch I am.

I don’t know about you, but it is impossible to avoid technology. I admit I checked out the smart phones after our infamous trip to Vermillion with no map, but I decided I wasn’t ready to learn how to use one and I wasn’t willing to pay the monthly fees. Most of the decision rested on that last statement. While technology is wonderful, it is also expensive. A couple of years ago, when the iPad came out, we discussed getting one. At that time, I couldn’t justify spending the money because I had this wonderful laptop that worked. Why fix what isn’t broken?

Well, a week ago I realized this wonderful laptop was infected yet again with an annoying virus that wouldn’t let me on the Internet. I didn’t know if I could justify fixing it again. The wonderful computer store told me if I bought a new one, I could buy a service to fix my old one for half price. On top of that, I didn’t have to buy a laptop, I could buy an iPad. When my daughter heard that, her eyes lit up and doubled in size.

It’s worth noting here that my husband was hunting and out of range for any advice on what to do. And since I fully blamed him and my son for the computer virus, I figured whatever I decided to do, they would be OK with it.

So, that night, we bought an iPad. But before we left the store, we were giving a quick tutorial on how to use it. I listened intently. My daughter, on the other hand, was bored. She knew how to use it. She was ready to go.

A couple of times that night, I asked her questions on how to get to this screen or how to make this picture go away. It was amazing what she could do. Buttons she was not afraid to push and apps she was not scared of clicking on. I watched her in awe.

I think it’s worth noting here she probably has my brains and that’s why she could figure it out. I’m sure if given enough time, I could have figured that all out too. (By enough time, I mean a few years.) There is something in children that makes them unafraid to try new stuff, to learn how to use things in trial and error, and not really care if they look stupid if they did it wrong the first time. The older we get,  we lose that bravery, that willingness to try something new. I have fully given in to being the student when it comes to her teaching me about technology.

And boy did I get to learn a lot about that new iPad. Turns out my old laptop had a fried hard drive and it was in the “hospital” getting repaired a lot longer than I thought. I discovered a lot of cool things an iPad can do … thanks to my daughter!

Jennie Lundgren is a local mother who enjoys small town life with her family in NYA. Family Frolics is an occasional feature of The NYA Times.

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