Dear Grandparenting: There’s a good deal of truth to the saying young people think they know it all, while people my age come to realize how little they actually know.
It’s always been like that. When I was that age, you couldn’t tell me anything either. But I wonder if it’s worse today because kids think anyone isn’t up to speed on technology must be a blooming idiot. It gives them an arrogance I’m seeing with my grandchildren.
I was at a gas station when I saw a boy pull up in his car next to the air pump. He wanted to put some air into his tire. First he put some money into the machine to start to pump. To my amazement, he proceeded to lay the air nozzle on the ground right next to his tire, as if the air hose would magically connect itself to the tire. He waited a minute and then laid out the attendant, “This dumb machine is broke and I demand my money back.”
Maybe this wise guy will grow up to do great things and save the world. In the meantim, he needs to wise up and learn how things work in the real world. Automobiles come loaded with dazzling technology now, but that car is no good if you can’t handle simple problems as they arise. Heaven help that boy when he has to change a flat tire. Whatever happened to good old common sense? Patrick Murray, Portland, Oregon
Dear Patrick: You’ll get no argument from us that grandchildren are unfamiliar with skills their elders mastered. Such know-how used to be passed down from one generation to the next, but kids nowadays will turn to the Internet for instructional videos on how to do just about anything.
Need tips on folding a T-shirt or putting air into a car tire? Never fear. Hundreds of Internet sites offer video tutorials on whatever task may challenge you — clips on elementary skills like showering have been viewed by several hundred thousand on one site.
Cruising the Internet has been likened to driving down an information highway, stopping here and there to explore what whets your fancy. But information is not the same as knowledge, and there’s no substitute for hands-on experience.
We’ve all heard how technology is the key that opens the door to the jobs of tomorrow. But sooner or later, grandchildren need to knuckle down to the everyday basics. The world has a way of bringing high-flying wise guys (and girls) back to earth. We only hope it’s not too hard a landing.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Jo Lewis from DeGraff, Ohio, is OK with the ravages of old age.
“My once lovely hair has turned grey and my pretty face is wrinkled. My joints ache, my muscles cramp up and my eyes are weak. In return, I got my grandchildren. You know what? I think I got the better of that deal!”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426