Saved a 13 year old’s educational life yesterday night: What is the real stand of technology in our everyday life?
Yesterday night, the door bell rang at 10:00 pm. One of my neighbors was at the door. She asked if I could help her daughter with the arts homework. This is not he first time that I am being asked to give a hand about the child’s educational necessities. The woman, mother of the child has primary education at furthest, and probably alike is the father; so the child in need lacks both a good mentor in terms of educational counseling with homework issues, plus there is a poor condition of educational tools technology in the house she lives. I answered with kindness and empathy and asked what I could do for help, as usual.
The mother said that the girl needed a print out copy of a caricature, to use as a model for her arts homework. How simple, isn’t it?
Now, to make everything as complex as it can be; here is my setting: 3 days ago, on Sunday, we went to skateboarding with my two boys, 7 and 9 and my husband. In the first 15 minutes everything was normal until the older one fell and bruised his elbow. The pain was not severe we thought, but the cry from the boy lasted so long that at the end we decided to pack up all of our items and go back home. My husband, an IT professional, was very upset because he said that returning home was the boys’ real aim, for they in fact wanted to lay on the coach and watch TV or play video games, rather than playing outside, under the sun. So on the way to home, we put a sudden ban on all kinds of digital screens inside the house. Needles to say, their cries did not calm down too soon while we hid all of the tablets, phones, notebooks to the deepest places in our house and deleted the TV program setting.
Not sure how much the boys liked our un-digital regime at home but I can say that the three days that followed was the best for me. When I came home I saw the elder boy was reading a book to the younger, they were very enthusiastic about learning a new note on the piano (which I could not drive them for the whole weekend, and guess why.) Everything was perfect, until this neighbor came to the door and asked for a simple print out.
I told the woman to send her daughter to me and I would try to help her. From that moment, I tried to find a medium to connect to the printer which was laying on a shelf silently in the study room. Printer was OK but the tablet I found (as it was hidden somewhere) had lost battery to 0% and there was no chargers around. While I was trying to plug the printer to my phone, the door bell rang.
The girl came. I asked her if she knew what a caricature was. She knew. I asked when the task was given, and she said the teacher had given it on Monday. She had 3 days to work on it but now she was on my door at this time of the night, to start it. I blamed her for her procrastination and said that she in fact did not need a print out of a caricature, she could have easily bought a caricature mag, from the shop next door. But, now that it was midnight, I was the only one to help the child. In fact I was angry with her mother because it was her duty to give a hand. Add to this the deliberate lack of technological means I used to enjoy hilariously 3 days ago, I lost my temper so easily on this 13 year old girl who was looking at me with ashamed and questioning eyes.
She went back to the door to wear her shoes. My boys were happy to see her because they were also in need of a friend to play with (guess why) and the three began chattering together. Meanwhile, I was sitting in the study room on the floor with my temperament and annoyance for not being capable to help, when I was the last resort.
It was when it dawned on me that I used to collect every magazine I bought for the boys in a big bag under the bookshelf, behind the boys’ drawer. We, as a family like collecting. In this era of minimalism, where one can buy or get anything easily form the internet or the nearest mall with a small cost, I can be rewarded as a collector of unnecessary items. And yesterday night, after years of expectation of urgency, the big bag of magazines moved out of the bookshelf, opened and poured out with a glaring honor.
It was the fourth mag I looked in while turning the pages with hopeless anxiety, when I saw a group of amateur drawn caricatures. Like Archimedes celebrating his discovery, I ran to the door with the mag in my hand, showing her if they were OK for the homework. She looked at the caricatures and said they were fine. Unfeelingly she took the mag, wore her shoes. I told her not to come to me so late next time. She said goodbye, called the elevator, got in and went.
Looking back to what happened last night I can say: Dear Technology, can’t live with or without you. But I am not in a restless hunger for what you may bring, because I know your weak points. You were not there to save my neighbor’s homework yesterday. It was my constant belief in the big bag.