Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Read On

Earlier this year I had a fairly lengthy email correspondence with a grandfather who was looking forward to his 80th birthday. His children, knowing his love of gadgets and having an acute awareness of his lack of book-space, had decided to buy him an eBook as a gift.

Our dialogue eventually drifted into and around the pros and cons of life today, at which point my thoughts turned to the grandchildren. It’s amazing how quickly a lively imagination can sketch out, in nightmarish detail, the shortcomings of the modern world. Using my own fairly benign childhood days as a convenient canvas didn’t help matters. The picture I had in my head was suddenly thrown into sharp relief.

Of course, our grandchildren will never know any world other than the one they were born into. They will live in their own time. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But just occasionally it’s tempting to map out the uncharted territory of a new generation, using the tools of our own selective memory.

Compared to the grandfather I mentioned at the top of this post I am a novice to the role, and obviously sensing some mild angst in my tone, he reminded me, “Don't worry about your grandchildren. We all do it, but remember, humans are adaptable and will make the best of anywhere they find themselves.”

In a follow-up message I asked him how he was enjoying the eBook. He confessed that he was incapable of downloading anything to it until he had received further tuition from his grandson…..the one who set up his mp3 player for him!

© 2009, copyright Martin T. Hodges

1 comment:

  1. For Mother's Day, I received several nice gifts, including a digital photo keychain and a docking station for my iPod. I haven't used either. It's not that I can't figure them out. I gave my father a digital photo frame loaded with pictures a couple of years ago, and I download audio books to my iPod all the time. It's just so darn time-consuming for me to figure out new gadgets. And, of course, it's no consolation to know that at least four of my grandchildren could figure out these gadgets in half the time! Maybe I'll tackle them today. . . .

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