Recently, my daughter and I were sitting on the floor in her bedroom going through a huge bag of notes she saved from high school. There were notes from her girlfriends, boys who were ‘just friends’ and yes, the dreaded boyfriend too. They had been stuffed in her closet for the past 14 years! (Yes, I’m a saver, and she learned it from the best.) She is now married and has blessed me with two beautiful grandchildren.
These notes chronicled so much of her high school joys, fears, boyfriends, and even some things that I was probably better off not knowing! Yet, it was a very special couple of hours to sit and go through them together and watch her reaction to those special memories. We laughed and cried.
She startled me when she suddenly stopped, and with a bit of sadness said, ‘Wow Mom, I won’t ever be able to do this with my daughter,’ and I said, “Of course you will honey. She will do just as you have done and want to share what was once private to her with you.”
It was then that I realized what she was hitting on.
Kids don’t write notes to each other on paper anymore. They don’t pass them in the hall, or put them in each other’s lockers, or stuff them into a shoe box at home in hopes no one will find them – they text and delete. Sort of a sad reality that while texting may be more efficient and quicker, there is nothing left behind to recall later like she and I did sitting in her room 14 years later.
About 10 years ago we bought a condo at a ski/golf resort in upper Michigan. It’s a cozy little getaway. We bought it furnished so we literally just had to take some personal belongings up and we were in! Along with the furniture, kitchen items and assorted knickknacks you invariably find in a furnished place, there are two book cases filled with books. I never really paid much attention to them as they looked a bit dated.
Recently I was dusting the books and several caught my eye. There is an entire collection of Consolidated Readers Digest, a World History book published in 1924, a guide to proper dating published in 1950 — to name a few. I came across an American History book which was published in 1935. I took it off the shelf and began to flip through the pages. It spoke of dangers of government becoming too large and spending too much money. How the people were beginning to lose their voice and were not listened to.
While these may speak of interesting parallels to our times in 2011, what gave me pause was the idea that with today’s technology in Nooks, Kindles, iPads (which I now own), I may never have found this book unless I was actively looking for it on the internet. Technology gives yet it takes away. A leather-bound book, sitting on a shelf, waiting to be rediscovered may soon be a thing of the past. At the same time, because of technology, an entire world of literature and material is wide open for us to discover with a simple search – a fair measure easier than accidentally discovering something sitting on a bookshelf somewhere.
Have a technology story or realization of your own? Care to share your tales of the benefits and downfalls of our tech-enabled culture? I’d love to hear them in the comments.
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