Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Living in the Modern World

Straddling a world in which the television was the most progressive invention, and a world where we literally cannot navigate without the miracle of video in one form or another, makes me as fit as anyone to understand the generational chasm I encounter every day. Video or 'talking pictures' as they were first termed have, among other wonders, single-handedly revolutionized the educational and entertainment paradigm. As with any change, some are at the forefront, the median population follows en masse and still some straggle behind.

In between the grandmother who is hesitant to get a facebook and the grandfather eager to set up skype, there is a world of difference. And that's nothing to the divide between the young hipster who learns to play the piano by youtube tutorials, and the elderly arts enthusiast who can't get enough of the classics.

Perhaps having family members at both ends of the age spectrum closes the gap, or more likely I am in the gap. My technical saavy resembles a baby elephant loping along, sidling up against its monster-sized mother for protection and direction. In my case the mother elephant is the collective knowledge of my husband and my daughters. And I am the first to applaud the amazing advances of the modern age.

But I have a soft spot in my heart for those who sat in rapt attention by the radio during World War II, amazed that they could hear Winston Churchill's voice from across the pond, used magazines and sometimes even corn cobs to accomplish personal hygiene tasks, and gave up valued food groups to conserve resources for the troops. Incidentally, how a candidate looked on camera didn't influence the vote of the WWII folk's parents! This same generation doesn't understand how getting a million youtube hits makes you some kind of hero, whether you have worked hard for it or not. This generation was of a different cloth.

And I understand them, while simultaneously enjoying pop music, and playing youtube videos for my piano students.

There will come a day, when the last person who experienced World War II  personally is gone. In the meantime, the present generation has volumes to learn from them. And, volumes to enrich their elders with if they (both sides) are paying attention.

Some reptiles gain nutrients by eating the old skin when it is shed. Need I elaborate?

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