I remember being fifteen. I was on my second ‘serious’ relationship, I was dreaming about having babies, being married, my future home with a white picket fence. I was ready to conquer the world … lol … or, so I thought;) I had my entire future mapped out, 4 kids — three born to me and one adopted. Professionally, I was going to be a social worker and change the world. I was going to own a cool car, the best house (on a beach of course) and my husband was going to be the most handsomest of them all. Yes, I was fifteen;)
Today, my son is exactly 31 days away from being fifteen.
I’m not scared because he hasn’t had a serious girlfriend (he has had tons of girlfriends and his most serious relationship was from grade 1-5 😉 ), or, conversely, that he doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up. I’m scared because he IS growing up in a world much different than the world I grew up in.
Our world has changed. Technology is everywhere and we use it for EVERYTHING. We get our money electronically. We pay our bills through iPads and laptops. We read our newspapers online. Research for school is done through Google. Our friends and family communicate with us through Facebook or email. They are creating driver-less cars, on top of cars that we currently drive that tell us how to park, if our tires need air, how many kilometres we can go before we run out of gas. They even have cars with wifi!!!!!
My son Keagan and I watch lots of tv from the 90’s. Real family shows. The other day we were watching an episode of 7th Heaven and the whole family got cell phones and were excited about getting email. Keagan giggled and said what a weird episode. Who gets excited about email? But I remember getting my first email account. It was exciting to know you could send instant mail to all your friends. Now, it’s just a place where (with the exception of payday) I hit the delete button, over and over. My favourite part though of that episode was when everyone in the family started shutting their phones off — because they preferred face to face conversations.
Me? I miss ‘real’ conversations. I hate texting, I hate Facebook messages. I hate electronic invitations. I miss face to face conversations, because I grew up in a time where that was how you talked to people. But how do I make sure my soon to be 15yr old realizes how important conversations and relationships really are???
I am not saying technology is bad. And change isn’t always a bad thing either. But we have isolated ourselves through both means. I watch my daycare kids talk to each other on imaginary cell phones, and truth be told, they can navigate my iPad better than me. The teenagers I’m around spend more time taking pictures of their own faces and not of God’s beauty around them, nor of the many friends surrounding them. One day, my son will be looking for photos of his childhood to show his kids, to show them how awesome his life was … and he won’t have any.
One of the after school kids said the other day “Marion, you have a lot of pictures. They are everywhere!” And I do. I take them of all my daycare kids, of all our family vacations, of things I love, because one day, I want to be able to look back and see that I lived a happy life. One that I allowed technology into but didn’t let it take over every part of my being. I want my son to learn the value of not letting technology take over, because one day, technology could fail him. And if it does, he needs to be able to survive without it.
He needs to know how to research how to survive without google, or how to drive a car without it doing all the thinking. He needs to know how to operate a stove and grow a garden. He needs to know how to effectively communicate face to face with people. He needs to know the value of hard work. He needs to know how to get on his knees and pray. I’m doing my very best to teach him these things. Well, not the driving part because I’m not at all ready for that 😉 But it’s a tough job, when the world wants everything to be easier and I know it’s only going to be harder.
I guess on the bright side…..he isn’t planning out how many babies he wants yet 😉
“Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.” (Nehemiah 2:18)