Growing up, I was one of the kids who always got picked last for whatever games were played in our schoolyard. On top of that, I attended a three-room school from grade 1 to grade 5. In one room were grades 1 to 4, in another, grades 5 to 8. The third room was used for music class (read dancing, mostly), and our country-school version of phys-ed—until the last year I was there, when it became the “special education” class.
Four grades, one teacher, it’s no wonder, then, that I learned how to get by on my own at an early age. There wasn’t a lot of structure to my early life at any rate. My dad died when I was 8, so again, I was left to my own devices a lot. I had school and I had home, and because we lived out in the sticks, that was about it. If I complained about being bored, I got put to work. I made my own fun, and wasn’t allowed to stay inside on a Saturday or Sunday if the weather was decent.
Of course, it was a different world, and really, I don’t think I would like to see us return to the way things were back then, fifty or so years ago. I’m intelligent enough to understand that while those times seem “better” to me on occasion, I’m peering at them through the prism of what I’ll call “filtered” memory.
No human rights, no medical coverage, and certainly even less sense of world security then than now (duck and cover, remember?) They weren’t really kinder, gentler times at all.
I never really wanted to turn into one of those older people who lamented that “back in my day things were so much better”. But I’ve discovered that I have from time to time, and mostly only when I seem confounded by the pace and the mores of life today.
Every generation takes its turn at the wheel, with the generation that preceded it becoming back seat drivers—and the one coming up whining for the keys to the car.
I do my best to keep up with modern technology. But I have to tell you, there are times when I find it a real challenge.
There are some things that I think are wonderful, and a few things I think are lacking.
Sometimes I think I spend far too much time at my computer. It’s easy to do. I try to write at least 1,000 words a day, but really would be happier to triple that figure. That takes effort, and how much depends on the fickle moods of my muse—and my degree of discipline.
I would be lying to you if I were to tell you that I keep a sharp focus throughout the day. Sadly, I’m weak, and get distracted easily. I like to look around on Face Book, and I like to play a few games here and there.
I think there is a danger in spending too much time with online friends and not enough with face-to-face friends. I think parents need to monitor not only what their kids are doing online, but how long they are doing it each day.
I worry not just about the fact these children aren’t getting exercise; I worry that they get their heads too far into the ‘virtual’ world, at the detriment of their ability to learn to cope with the real one.
However, were it not for this modern technology, I seriously don’t have a clue what my life would be like now.
Long before I began to make a living with my writing – and through this modern technology, I might add – I thought the internet a Godsend for those people who were mobility-challenged. My first experiences on line were in “free game rooms”. I’d go and play bingo, and chat, and there were so many elderly people in those game rooms who were thrilled to be communicating with others. For them, their computers represented their entire social life, especially those who were “shut-ins”.
For the most part, I believe that, despite “text speak” and the various and sundry short forms we see like LOL and IMO, using a computer does help the cause of literacy. As far as I’ve seen, this is well and good, with this one exception—and this is a pet peeve of mine.
My grandchildren can’t read what the schools these days call “cursive” communication—what we referred to back in my day as “writing” , which was as opposed to “printing”.
And I’m wondering if that sort of writing will become a lost art.