Surprisingly what caught my attention was the young families. The ones waiting and the ones seated. Waiting in line with us was a family of four; parents and two girls one about 5 the other about 8 or 9. The parents were deep in conversation with each other; not making any effort to keep their girls engaged or entertained during the wait. They did not need to. Once they joined the line, the Mom reached into her capacious bag and handed the young one a Kindle. Her elder sister automatically assumed the role of tutor. Both girls were quiet, engaged and in no way a disturbance to their parents or any of the restaurant patrons.
smart phone. At this table the parents were seated across from each other, as were their boys. This gave each parent a hand for a child and a hand for their wine glass. Only all hands were needed to keep the little guy in the chair once he started howling, bucking and rocking. A passing waiter said, " Here, let me fix this". Never breaking stride he picked up the baby in the chair, walked around the table and placed him next to big brother who was still engrossed in the smart phone. The transformation was instant. Baby was happy, big brother remained oblivious and both parents could suddenly gaze into each others eyes in wonderment.
I believe, a sweeping cultural shift. There is no need for Aunt Fishy to sing Old MacDonald's Farm, complete with sound effects and bouncy knee rides when there is a Peekaboo Barn app available from Appolicious for just $1.99. Here an app, there an app, everywhere a smart app ... is the new tune.
Unlike many, I do not think this the downfall of mankind. If you think about how people learn ;
The waiting family of four were eventually seated at a table adjacent to the booth Blowfish and I occupied. The parents choose to sit together on one side of the table while the girls were opposite. The parents ordered dinner, the children did not. Appetizers and beverages were delivered to the table for the parents. The girls played on.
The Dad of this family caught me observing and offered this explanation. They negotiate with their children. The deal was this: the girls had fast food in the car on the way to the restaurant with the promise of game time with the kindle and the smart phone while the parents enjoyed a fine restaurant dinner . Apparently it gets expensive if sticky fingers infuse the technology with foods and beverages. The rule is this: the girls can eat, and they can game, but they may not do these two activities simultaneously. The Dad went on to say this arrangement allowed them to really enjoy going out " as a family" more often. He went on to mention they were able to have far more "family nights" because they had eliminated the costs of babysitters.
Clearly the concept of "family night" has changed. I get it. Here at the Pond we do not squat by our cave to enjoy our just speared haunch cooked over open flames. I understand this newest generation will be very different. Young brains are being grooved as never before. I accept this generation will have skill sets I will never possess, will think in patterns heretofore unknown. Will, in fact, occupy a world unknown to me. It has ever been thus. The pioneers who built log cabins on their staked claims did not build the steel and glass skyscrapers of today. Progress is to be expected. Even eagerly sought, anticipated and embraced.
I still do.
year he last printed a photograph. I asked him if he still had the first letter I ever wrote to him? His answer, " Fishy, that is my greatest treasure! It is where it will always be, in the second drawer of the night stand next to my bed.". This made me think of other treasures. Will we be able to enjoy and review them in our twilight years? We have video cassettes of important events in our family but will there still be a way to play them? I have stored Mermaid's anamatronic BigBird and all the story tapes as this is how she learned to read by age three. No doubt the dinosaur to today's smart phone apps. My fear is the day will come when there will be no way to play these as batteries will no longer be.
Today, I am listless.
I did not sleep well having spun like a top wondering if we are as smart as our phones.
If, as a culture in transition , we are making wise choices to preserve what came before. This is not a foolish question as teams of greats today cannot build a pyramid, or explain what did happen to dinosaurs or for that matter, scrolls. Are we multiplying our losses? Are we in the process of not just moving into the future but also losing our past? How smart is that?