I knew this revolution of technology was whizzing by at lightning speed but it was unclear to me how deeply it penetrated the world of my grandchildren until the thirteen-year-old asked the six-year-old, “Do you have a device?”
It took a split second for the younger one to understand what her older cousin was asking. She concentrated for a second, then her eyes looked up at her cousin and she smiled.
Oh, yeah, the younger grandchildren had recently become acquainted with my Kindle, Mac Air and iPhone — both the new and old one. Plus, sometimes, they would bring their mothers’ iPads with them.
You see, the older North Carolina cousins had come to town and were in the beginning phase of getting reacquainted with the younger cousins whose ages ranged from two to seven.
Technology worked magic and I watched as if I had specimens in a lab. Instantly, smiles hit the crowd and each one furiously concentrated. Silence reigned throughout the house.
The youngest was four at this first session. The game of the hour, the day, the week was Minecraft, a game described as placing blocks to build anything you can imagine. The piled up in the kids’ room on the beds, the floor, the chair. As they continued to work diligently, their faces grew weary after about an hour and half.
Apparently they were building a project together. It seemed that someone was building a bedroom that interfered with another’s closet. And an argument broke out. Ahh, the peace and quiet was over. The grownups took them off the devices. After much pleading, we agreed they could resume at 3 p.m. That was FIVE hours later! What were they to do?
Outisde it was warm and filled with possibilities. The youngest hunted for rocks and the others chatted and brought out a few books. After a few hours, the asked for the time. 1 p.m. “Two more hours!” one of them exclaimed.
Blowing bubbles kept them busy for some time.
When it hit high 90s I told them to come in and I handed them paper and crayons and pencils and pens. I was struck with brilliance. “Organize what you are going to do on Minecraft.”
Well, they negotiated and planned and you would have thought they were engineers.
The detail and unimaginable creativity was phenomenal. The five children continued and demonstrated tremendous skills in negotiating, researching and planning as they kept an eye on the clock.
They had fun. And they raced upstairs at 2:55 p.m.
Okay. I gave them five minutes for good behavior.