We live in times that electronic pulses are virtually the most valuable and important things one could have or give away. The paradigm of the age of information is so radically different from the years of our parents and grandparents, and even us, the ones who have their turn at being the adults, are still mildly bewildered by the rapid march of technology.
Now, look at the children. They were born in this glorious period of human civilization, and they are exceedingly comfortable in absorbing its cultural elements, and even at this early stage, are already defining it in their terms. I have no children of my own, but being the official emergency nanny to my brothers’ kids, I have my share of parental responsibilities and woes.
Keeping Up With the Info-Kids
One of the things I struggle with is trying to keep up with the trends that enter the shared mindspace of the internet so rapidly, and disappearing into obscurity just as fast. I’d like to think I’m a culturally up-to-date denizen of the world, but these kids, with their capacities to process and understand (and their ever-so-short attention spans), flit from one idea to the next.
We’re supposed to be the grownups, and yet I am often schooled by my charges on many things. It’s kind of funny if you think about it. Still, being the responsible and mature one (supposedly) that they look up to, I try to look farther beyond and help them along in their quest for more knowledge and mastery of the information realm. I know that they will exceed me and their parents (if they haven’t already), but a slight nudge to the proper direction could work wonders for them now and for their future.
Get them Interested in How Stuff Works
It’s not enough that they are handy with various forms of the computer (desktop, mobile, smartphone, etc.), they should also have a working knowledge of what goes on underneath. It’s counterproductive to force them to learn anything; just give them a taste of basic electronics, programming, design, and other disciplines that are involved in conceiving and realizing the technological gadgetry they enjoy.
When they’ve grown out of the ultra-safe, non-toxic, swallow-proof educational toys, let them have a hand at the real stuff. Get them into learning a programming language. A bunch of advanced Lego sets that’ll stimulate the latent engineer in them will also be great. Get them a digital multimeter, a wire crimping tool, a breadboard, as well as other basic tools so they can see the manifestation of electricity, the force that makes all of our digital devices work. Do be a supervisory presence to make sure they don’t get themselves into trouble; at the least, they are doing it to know more, and not just cause random mischief.
With Great Power…
All the knowledge without the proper guidance on how to treat others (and yourself) well will lead to certain disaster. I do not wish to endorse any particular brands of moral conduct; what is more important is that there is some kind of framework for the young ones to work on. As they mature, they will be able to choose a particular flavor for themselves.
To keep things simple, learn new things everyday, do not impede or hurt others, help those that truly need it, and strive to be happy. Just about everything else springs from these basic ideas.
I wish you the best in being a helpful guide to the younger members of your family. Onward to greater knowledge and humanity!
About the Author
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and is making sure her nephews and nieces are equipped to prevail in this new and exciting world. She also maintains her gang’s blog, Word Baristas.