It has been a bad winter. Not only has my father died, but three of his closest friends and another cousin (once removed) have moved on to heaven (I hope). My parents were one of five couples that called themselves “The Potluck Group”. They all met as young marrieds at church. For over 50 years they got together once a month and ate dinner, laughed, shared life and grew older with kids and grandkids and eventually great-grandkids.
So what does this have to do with Digital Fluency? Well, out of the 10 people, only 4 are left. I did not find out until yesterday, that my god-mother (one of the 10) had passed away in February. I missed the funeral. I have expectations with the ease of communication today that someone would have put it on facebook, or texted me…or at last resort called me on the phone. Not so.
One thing (of many) that I loved about my dad, was his incredible curiosity about technology. Although he drove me crazy with questions, his iPad was his connection to the world as he entered his 80’s. In fact, he wore his first iPad out and had to get a mini as it got difficult for him to hold it later as his illness progressed. But he had a Facebook account and loved seeing pictures of his grandchildren gallivant all over the world. He lived vicariously through his children and grands, he watched TED talks…he learned something new everyday. I was proud of him, used him as an example in my classes I taught to 19 and 20 year olds.
So, as my parents generation is dying, I realize that it is my responsibility is to keep them close, make the phone calls and not rely on technology to keep me connected to people I love deeply.