Head in the Cloud

On rainy days like these I often drift off thinking about life and remembering random things. Often this makes me nostalgic and moody but today I just feel like sharing a story and I warn you it is random πŸ™‚

Saturdays are usually busy. Filled with errands and all the things you didn’t get to during the week. Usually every odd weekend we also want to take the kids out. This particular Saturday it was myself, mom and one of my sisters and the boys of course, on a mission to watch the new Lego movie. They had been wanting to go see it for a while but something had always come up. So this week I promised. We all got dressed and off we went.

The casual conversation in the car is always interesting. The boys tend to be very engaged in the car and it sometimes leads to very comical outcomes. Needless to say always entertaining. Two things struck me on this day. One, as we passed the Voortrekker Monument on the way to the mall. The boys asked about its origins. All the occupants in the car including myself, hesitate to answer. When finally, one of the boys says in an accusatory tone, due to our silence…

‘HEY, Are you Googling it?’

At which point, we all burst out laughing. As it turns out the Voortrekker Monument was inaugurated in 1949 and is Pretoria’s most visited heritage site, and one of the top ten cultural sites in South Africa. All this valuable information, thanks to Google! and yes my Mom was googling it πŸ™‚ Prior to google, how did we answer these questions, did our parents have that much general knowledge? or did they use one liners, like ‘Stop counting teeth” in order to avoid the answer? hmmm…

With access to information the problem though is soon they are going to stop asking altogether. What happens to conversation and interaction and discovering new things together? ok Google is a necessary thing these days for sure… but can’t we hold on a little longer to being needed and having valuable knowledge (to our kids) before we’re not needed at all, as parents. Also, let’s use some traditional ways to impart knowledge and bring out the Childcraft books and the Encyclopedias. My mom bought these for my siblings and I when we were growing up, she paid a fortune for them, I might add. This was our go to google for school work and projects at the time. She was thrilled to see that they had survived the test of time as I recently sent her pictures of the boys using the collection of books for a school project.

Let me just say that there was a greater sense of achievement when finding something out, from a book, well for me at least, not sure how thrilled the boys were… as they did suggest ‘googling it’ multiple times. All in all, shouldn’t we go to the library more often and experience this with our children before the digital age completely takes away this whole experience. Am I just getting old and overreacting, because the access to information is amazing? I mean, seriously, what would we do without google?

The second topic in the car was unlocking the iPad. For some reason the boys had entered the passcode incorrectly way too many times and now iTunes and all the google help in the world could not open the iPad. “This iPad has been disabled.”, it said ominously. The boys have been iPad-less for over a month now and they are desperate for a solution. All of the boys are extremely concerned about all the possible options they have been told about and the repercussions of the suggested solutions. Their cousin suggested ‘recovery mode’ and another suggested taking it to the ‘Techlab’, not sure if this is an actual store, or the twins own lingo. But all they know is they might have to ‘wipe’ the iPad and that they will lose all their apps and photos, unless I have backed up the iPad. At which point one of the twins says very seriously,

Β ‘Mom, do we have a cloud?’

I take a moment to answer, because firstly, how is my 7-year old so privy to the workings of an iPad and storing information and data in the cloud. And then why is a question about clouds not about the ones in the sky, that can be explained by awesome stuff like evaporation and condensation which forms white fluffy looking puffs called clouds. Clouds, that can make you drift off and think about life and all its wonders, like the saying goes,Β with your head in the clouds. Why is he actually making reference to a technology term for using a shared resource over the Internet that enables you to store massive amounts of information at a low-cost commonly known as ‘The Cloud’?

I was taken aback, it didn’t feel like this was a conversation with my child but rather a colleague at work maybe? To me they are growing up too fast. I know, I know … our parents did say this very same thing, and their parents as well… but somehow now it feels like they are growing up in hyper-speed. I really want them to stop and press pause. I want them to still need me, ask me about the clouds or ask me where does rain come from. I want us to lay on the grass and look at the very same clouds and say what shapes or animals we see.

Is the internet stealing my babies and morphing them into little baby-man-general-knowledge-trivia fundis. They talk at me sometimes, blabbering stuff about the inner workings of an electrical circuit or telling me how the hovercraft actually works? I mean their viewing in general is limited to child appropriate content and we do monitor this but we also watch a lot of science-y and nature related programs which they pick up quite a bit from and… their father of course, who is filled with facts about all sorts of stuff, he surprisingly filled to the brim with interesting facts about random things, so it could partly be that… I guess.

I just maybe want to say to the internet, considering it augments so much of our lives these days, please bring back my babies, stop teaching them EVERYTHING before I can and please remind them to shower daily and brush their teeth, while you’re at it.

 

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