If our Parents would have given up on “teaching us”

If our Parents would have given up on “teaching us”, because we tried few times & just couldn’t!

old people using technoogy

Off-late, with the advent of technology becoming a part of every single aspect of our lives, life’s routines have been simplified to a great extent, at least for me.

I am in the habit of tracking every task, those which I can and over the years, my journal reveals that I have added around 30 to 40 minutes per day when compared to the previous year, by including technological tools, apps and gadgets into my daily routine.

The tools of today have helped me measure, track, add reminders and has enabled me to even reduce my travel with apps like Hangouts, Skype etc. therein saving a lot of time which can be in turn devoted towards other functional activities, be it work or social.

So it’s obvious that as an individual, when you integrate so many different applications, you would expect those around you too, to implement as many, so as to be able to sync, interact and engage with each other with ease.

I do dislike chat applications somehow, I always have. It takes up too much of my time rather than making it resourceful and that too with the umpteen rise in groups and public groups and private family or friends groups growing each day, with users randomly adding you to them, with each passing minute, it’s a tedious task to mute, or block or remove ourselves from each of them too. Not to mention the amount of battery it drains out of our smart-phones. So, I chose not to be a part of such chat applications or messaging functions/tools.

Myself being a single guy, the most impact this had on anyone, was on my family, my parents, since I am constantly traveling and at times if they need to update me on some news or event, then how do they reach me? So I needed to ensure that they are also using these or at least few of these applications and or tools, so that I could connect with them easily wherever I was.

Now the tricky part was, they are senior citizens, over 65 – 70 years of age, now how do you teach them? Be it, to send an sms or an email, the difficulty level seems to be the same for them to learn right?

Well, firstly, I was always lucky that they (my folks) are brilliant and always eager to learn anything new, if someone took the time out to teach or train them. So I used to spend few minutes, about 20 or so each day for about a fortnight and got them completely accustomed to use these new age tools like including sms, emails, clicking pictures on a smartphone, using facebook etc.

Now, I am not very good with chat apps, simply because I don’t want to use them, so my cousin’s helped my folks to use the same (Thanks to Preeti & Mohan too for that).

Alright, but what does all of this have to do with the title of this post: “If our Parents would have given up on teaching us!”

Few days ago, one of my friends was discussing that he was having great difficulty getting a print out or a Xerox copy of a document from home. Well, he was out and the documents were at home and he was in urgent need for the same. He then spent about 15 minutes talking about how his parents can’t even switch on the computer or turn the scanner machine on. To which another friend of mine who was also an active contributor to this discussion mentioned, how he “TRIED” to train his dad to use the smart-phone for three days but in vain. He said, his dad has just given up and the earlier buddy of mine added, ‘yes, so have my folks too, I tried teaching them how to use a computer for almost a week’ he said and it seems it was all in vain.

I was quite. Just listening.

They asked, “how about your folks….?” and before they completed their question, I took out the smart-phone from my pocket and opened the gmail app, wrote one line email to my folks, “I am out will be late” and I kept the phone right there on the table. My friends were perplexed and simply watching the phone. Their curious eyes told me they were geared up for a shocker!

In less than three minutes, I got two replies, from both of my parents, “Ok, noted, we are out too. We will be home by 9 pm. Make sure to get something to eat while you are out”, which my dad wrote and “ok, noted. Have dinner” which my mom wrote.

It was as though Chris Pratt was standing in front of them training dinosaurs, well, that’s what these friend’s expressions told me.

Then I said, “Yes, they are very quick in adapting these new age tools and technology apps. In fact, my dad has now learnt so many things on his own too, that he can even assemble a computer to some extent and he is no way even remotely technical, but his knowledge about the new tech gadgets and tools and even my mom’s know-how is awesome.”

“Wow, you are very lucky”, my parents can’t even switch on the computer”, while the other one added, “You should see the mobile my dad uses, it’s ancient, tried buying him a new one, but he says it’s too complicated.”

That’s when I asked them, “Hey, do you guys remember, well, of course you don’t remember, but, just for the sake of a conversation, how many times as a child, as an infant, do you think we would have got up and fallen down or tried to say new words, or tried to ride the bicycle or learn a new language or study something for school, or learn how to eat, chew, swallow, not fall of the edge of the railway platform while running around during travel even though our parents have told them so many times it was dangerous, not to put our hands into the fire….” and my incessant rambling about our infancy stage and tone gave away what I was trying to say. But even then, I added, “imagine, if they would have given up on us each time they got bored or tired of telling us this is not right, or safe, or appropriate or the millions of times they must have picked us you, made us hold on to a sturdy handle or table so that we try to walk again, or when they realized we can’t do it anymore, where do you think we would be?”

Their stern defensive body posture told me that the message was not clear enough. So I added, “imagine learning something new today, for us, it is difficult, right? For eg. at work, your boss asks you to shift to a completely new profile, you get cheezed off, angry, annoyed and swear, may be not on his face, but back home, right? Why? Because it is difficult at any age to learn anything, let alone something radical. It’s the same for them too. They want to learn to use the new smartphone as much as anyone else and you know what, they want to learn to skype or video chat or send an sms too? But not for the same reason like you and I do, but so that they can be in touch with you, their loved ones without having to be dependent on anyone else.”

They got the message and just two days ago, I got an email from one of the same friends mom, “I am typing this first message to you, my son told me to. Thank you”, I was touched and moved.

There are many things which bother me in today’s world, the irresponsible driving, ridiculous parking, littering, spitting on the streets, wasting food (this one bugs me the most) and yes, saying you don’t have the time or patience to teach someone something apparently because they are too old to learn it or too slow to understand.

I think, if each one of us is able to devote time long enough not based on hours or days or weeks, but till “the point the other person learns”, nothing would seem difficult.

Remember, they are not failures in adapting to technology because they could not understand it, but you would be, if you could not impart it to those willing to learn!

Yes, it takes lot of patience, but it would be worth it.

After all, these same old people are the ones who taught us our first word, I am positive we can take some time out to teach them their first technology tool too!

I saw this video today, (OLD LADY TRYING TO LEARN HOW TO SEND A MESSAGE TO HER DAUGHTER), it’s about an old lady trying to text a message to her daughter. The video and concept, on its own are very real and amazing, but just for experiencing the “unbelievable part of this video”, do watch it till the end.

I am sure you will be amazed.

It’s a very powerful message. It will move you, it did move me too!

DOTTY from Brett and Mick on Vimeo.

Keep learning, keep sharing and keep connecting.

Do share your comments and views on the same with me here, would love to hear from all of you.

Be Well

Let’s Connect on – Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Instagram Pinterest – Social Media BOOK

Ananth V


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5 thoughts on “If our Parents would have given up on “teaching us”

  1. Very insightful article Ananth.

    Sometimes we dont realize what we do or how we react, very nice.

    Thanks for this wonderful post.


  2. Your article is really amazing. Your guidance to learn and operate a laptop or computer or mobile phone reasonably well has helped us to a great extent.

    Besides various other advantages, it is worth mentioning that we could watch the live telecast from Vienna – Austria of your Drucker Forum award event. Another one which again is one for the great memories, is the one, where our grand son Aditya’s Graduation Ceremony was held in Singapore and we could see it live right from the comfort of our home.

    We have been able to use technology to communicate with our near and dear ones whenever we travel – either in India or abroad during our different trips. At the same time, even when others are traveling across the globe, whom we miss and care about, skype and hangouts have been a great blessing.

    God Bless you.

    Dad & Mom

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