ACCORDING to a recent report, many youngsters are spurning the age-old tradition of confiding in, and learning from, their grandparents. Instead, they’returning to their personal computers, laptops and tablets and going on-line in search of answers to life’s more perplexing questions. The internet is, of course, a remarkable resource for facts, figures and general information, but it will never possess something that most grandparents have in abundance … the ability to impart genuine worldly wisdom.
Highs and Lows
Worldly wisdom comes from experiencing the sometimes stark reality of life’s highs and lows up close and personal. Indeed, in common with our own grandparents and their grandparents before them, the life lessons we seniors have learned from those experiences have tended to stay with us. And that’s where their value comes into its own. As was the case when we were young, our grandchildren, and today’s youngsters in general, have a thirst for knowledge and understanding that many of them can’t – or won’t – share with their parents. These issues are often very personal and private concerns that have their root in their relationships with their peers and the wider world.
In comparison, most of today’s pensioners have been there, done that and worn-out the T-shirts, and so they carry with them a reservoir of knowledge – worldly wisdom – that can be readily tapped by young people. Taking advantage of this reservoir can bring answers to deeply troubling questions that cannot properly be addressed on-line, and especially on social networks, where self-appointed counsellors peddle their misleading and, sometimes, downright dangerous opinions.
No I Can’t!
So what can we grandparents do to wrestle back the initiative when it comes to interacting with our grandchildren? Well, first and foremost, we could adopt the ancient maxim of “if you can’t beat ‘em, then join ‘em”. Let’s face it, today’s young ones are not going to give-up their cyber lifestyles, so we need to climb on-board too. How? Okay, unless you’ve already done so, why not treat yourself to a laptop, PC or tablet and then ask you grandson(s) and/or granddaughter(s) to show you the basics? Wait a moment, though: I think I can hear some of you shouting at me already! “I’m much to old learn how to work a computer” … “I’m useless at new technology” … “Sit me at a personal computer, laptop or tablet, and I’m bound to break it” … I hear you cry.
Yes You Can!
My answer to all those claims is “oh, no you’re not, and no you won’t!” Instead of putting-up barriers to your options, first ask yourself these questions. Do you use a TV and/or DVD player remote control? And do you remember how easy it was to get the hang of the remote control, and then expand your use of it through trial and error? If your answer to both questions is “yes” then I can assure you, you could learn the basics of how to work a personal computer, laptop or tablet very quickly indeed. From there, it’s just one small step and you’ll be on-line and interacting, not only with your grandchildren, but, even more importantly, with your fellow pensioners all over the UK and overseas.
Go on, give it a go! I promise you, your world will quickly open-up beyond your wildest dreams and you’ll be asking yourself why you didn’t invest in a personal computer much, much sooner. By the way, if you don’t have grandchildren or you rarely, if ever, see them, there are free personal computer courses for beginners at the libraries in Torquay (01803 208300), Paignton (01803 208321) and Brixham (01803 853870).Once you’re on-line and broadening your cyber horizons through trial and error, why not enrol on Facebook and join the PENSIONERS PLATFORM UK Facebook group page I launched last year? The group is growing slowly but steadily and there’s always a warm welcome for new members.
If you would like to contact me, you can reach me by e-mail at Davidlowecolumn@aol.com or via firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can call me on Skype at david.l.lowe.