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2002: Lost People
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2006: Out of the Fostering Business
2007: Long Night's Journey into Day
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2009: I Remember...
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7 February 2010
I have heard more than once in the past 3 days the question "why do things have to change? Why can't things stay the way they used to?"
This morning, after she read my journal entry, Jeri (who rarely watches TV and still uses VHS tapes when she does need to record something) wrote, "I find it very frustrating how technological advances are forced on everyone, whether they want them or not."
I got to thinking a lot about that. It seems that we really aren't very realistic about our anger at "change," especially as we get older.
I have loved all the changes in PhotoShop because I use it every day and so I try to keep up with all the advances that I can see myself using. It's important to me that I know what fun new stuff it will do.
BUT, I am still using a very old version of Front Page to write my journal every day and still "can't" understand the new way that the program works, making a unifying web page that is easier to update. I say "can't" (in quotes) because if I really wanted to, I could probably spend time slowly going through a manual or a tutorial and learn how to do it, but I don't see it necessary for what I use it for 99% of the time.
When Ned started making really good movies with Adobe Premier Elements, I was jealous of what he had learned and got the program for myself, but I'm overwhelmed with the amount of learning there is to do. He doesn't want to let me watch him work and tells me I need to learn it myself, and I react the same way my mother does--I know that it's "too complicated" for me to learn. Obviously it's not too complicated for me to learn, obviously I just am not willing to put in the time to actually do the work. I want someone else to do it for me and then show me how.
Jeri asks why things have to change because she doesn't watch TV, can't see any value in it, and sees no reason why she should learn about a DVR. BUT, she composes music on her computer. She doesn't use paper and pen. The program she uses is very complicated and I couldn't even imagine learning it. But then, I don't write music and I have no need for some new technology which will let me do it more easily -- she does.
Tom hasn't weighed in on the subject, but since he works with computer programs which make doing calculation for employee benefits for corporations much easier and faster, I suspect he'll agree with me.
But it's always been that way hasn't it? If it weren't for "progress," we'd all still be riding horses instead of riding in cars. One of the stories my mother is fond of telling is of her mother, being given a car by one of her kids, and trying to learn to drive it out in a field and then slamming the door and saying she could never learn it. And she never did. But she didn't have to. She lived out in the country and had others in the family to take her places. Those "others" made the move from horses to horseless carriages and learned how to drive because it suited them.
How many people know how to drive a stick shift -- and how many people sit around bemoaning the invention of the automatic transmission. I learned to drive a stick shift (Jeri still drives a stick shift), but when it's bumper to bumper traffic as far as the eye can see, I am very grateful for my automatic transmission.
It's not true that we become "too old" to learn something new. I know a man, nearly my mother's age, who started making videos for the first time and posting them to YouTube a couple of years ago. He has literally thousands of followers and has taught several generations of young people about life in Britain during WWII. He has made nearly 100 videos. Yet his very first video was halting and he admitted he wasn't sure what he was doing. It was important to him, so he took the time to learn how to do it.
There has to be "progress" because we are human beings and we are always trying to make things better. If there were no "progress" we might still be walking around with our knuckles dragging the ground. Imagine the kid who first realized that he could do more if he stood tall on 2 feet. I can just hear his parents grunting about that damn kid, how weird he was and how difficult it was to learn how to keep your balance if you didn't use your knuckles to help you. Now we all walk tall on 2 feet.
I wonder if Mrs. Og complained when her husband brought home that stone he'd carved into a round shape and showed her how she could add an axel and another round shape and attach it to an animal to make carrying things and ploughing the fields easier. Did she tell him it was way too complicated and she'd never be able to learn it and ask why familiar things have to change?
If there were no progress, my mother would still be running her clothes through the ringer of a washing machine and then hanging it all out to dry on the clothes line instead of pushing the complicated buttons on her automatic washer and dryer (heck, if there were really no progress, she'd be down at the lagoon scrubbing her undies on a rock!). It's all relative. What you want to use, you'll find a way to learn how to use.
When I sit and try to explain that to my mother, I see that look come into her eyes, the look that tells me she's disagreeing with me and that it's not fair that things have to change, but she will be polite and listen to what I have to say and then do whatever she damn well pleases. I also recognize that I give that same look to Ned when he talks to me about Adobe Premier Elements and tells me how easy it would be for me to go through tutorials and learn it on my own.
Sooner or later, my mother is going to figure out how to use her
remote and I predict that within a year she'll be amazed at how easy it is, compared to
the complaints she's had about her VCR over the past few years. And yes, sooner or
later I will get tired of complaining about it and learn how to use Premier Elements on my
Adobe Premier Elements