I think you’ll agree with me when I make the observation that the world is changing – quickly and dramatically. It’s nothing new, really- The same has been said by every generation before ours. Technology has made the biggest difference in our lives and I have embraced it. For the most part, it has made my life better. But I can’t stop thinking how different things are for my grandson, who was born into these times.
There are many fundamental rights of passage that remain, like learning to read or riding a bike without training wheels. Some things are timeless, but are taken to new levels with the onset of the Internet. Take bullying, for example. In my day, it was not uncommon for students to gather in the schoolyard to watch a good, old fashioned fist fight. Often, it was between a bully and an underdog. These days, the physical fighting has been contained somewhat. But what of the emotional consequences? Now, we have cyber-bullying, which has contributed to suicides by some young people. The risks have been moved out the public playground and into the privacy of the victim’s bedroom, where it will likely go undetected. The telltale black eye has been replaced by a potentially deadly bruised psyche.
What are some of the things we experienced that are becoming obsolete? There has been a lot of controversy over teaching cursive writing in school. I understand that the need for it has diminished greatly. However, it breaks my heart to think that my grandson might never be able to read the love letters written by his great grandparents during the 1950s, when my dad served in the Army.
I’ve always prided myself on having a good sense of direction. It’s something that has served me well as I have navigated my way thru the world, both working and on vacations. But nowadays, we rely on Google maps and GPS to get us where we are going. When that fails, we haven’t a clue how to help ourselves. How many generations before evolution completely does away with this possibly life saving sense?
Remember networking? I’m talking real-life, attendance-at-a-function, meet-and-greets. You got to hone your smile, handshaking technique and conversational skills. Not any more. Today, you can make business contacts, widen your circle of colleagues, find a job, increase your clientele or hire an assistant – And never leave your recliner.
The same applies to dating. Flirting is an art and it takes practice and experience. Unless, of course, you grow up with online dating, where a virtual wink gets the ball rolling. There’s no need to check out the cute guy across the room discreetly. In the comfort of your home, you can pursue potential love-interests like the menu at your favorite restaurant. Stare as long as you like! Select a comment from a drop down list with just the click of your mouse.
I don’t know about you, but I am hanging on to some of these precious, interpersonal skills. I still love meeting new people, face to face, where I can see the light in their eyes and interpret body language. When I visit museums, I want to be able to know what I am seeing and be able to read sacred, historic documents. And, if I get lost on the way home, I bet I’ll still find my way, even if I have to stop for directions and actually talk to someone!