We were visiting my daughter Laura, who, with her husband Ray, is raising two lovely children.   Twelve-year-old Mary Grace is an extremely bright child who excels in school and is more than just a little computer savvy.  When she visits us at home, I have to put away my phone or the home screen will be sporting some photo that was buried deep in my photo files.  My computer will have a new look and heaven forbid I don’t remind her to return the settings on the iPad back to what they were.  On that last visit, I discovered she had reprogramed the house thermostat – geez.


That is simply the way young people think these days, and why should they not; surrounded by such easily accessible and powerful toys and tools.   I mention this today because Mary Grace has shown some interest in knitting, not exactly a growing hobby among kids today.  Susan asked if she would like to learn how to do some kind of stitch or other; MG nodded yes.  


When Susan returned with the yarn and needles Mary Grace looked at her like she was from a different planet and said, “Aren’t we just going to look at a You Tube video?   


There seems to be something fundamentally wrong about learning from a screen, rather than a mentor.   It feels like we have abdicated interaction with each other to a touch-screen.  I also look at YouTube videos when they are useful, I even put them on the App*, it is quite wonderful technology.  But I just can’t imagine them taking the place of a real teacher. 


I am not sure if there are too few teachers who want to take the time to mentor or too few “students” who want to take the time to listen.   Given the abundance of information at our fingertips, perhaps the question is why a mentor is needed at all.  


I am not at all upset, confused or surprised by the takeover of media in young people’s (and old people’s) lives, however it really does make quite an impression when your grandkid’s chose the tablet over you. 


Laura of course is much more understanding.  She knew Dad was coming and she had a couple of flats of flowers ready to be planted, along with the trowel, shovel and mulch.  She has no problem with hands-on, especially when they are my hands.  It was a lovely day, and I called out to the grandkids, “Let’s do some planting, I’ll show you how.”   Need I say more – who can compete?



*The App can be downloaded by going to your App store and searching “Armitage”.  Works on iOS and Androids

AuthorAllan Armitage