Lost lessons

Graham asks about a zillion questions every day. Many of those are about geography. Is it nighttime in China? Is that in a different country than we live? He wants to know about communication, too. How do birds understand one another if they aren’t saying any words?

Graham is also obsessed with building, engineering and how things work. How do you get in an “underground” pool? How is it deeper on one end than the other if it is the same “age?” These, and many others like them, are typical questions running through Graham’s inquisitive mind. Graham’s “Pappy” gets to answer a lot of them. So many, in fact, that bystanders frequently comment on it on when the pair are out.

As Graham was asking me about the size of the sun and the Earth a few nights ago, I realized how fortunate we are today. We can google practically anything we want and get information. And fast, too. I explained to Graham that in the dark ages when I was younger, we had to look up everything in a book. And what if we didn’t have the book? What if we got in the car, drove to the library and it didn’t have the book? Now, from home or work or anywhere, we just type in a few words in the appropriate box on our computer screen, and boom...answers, answers, answers.

Want to know how to change the spark plugs on your lawnmower? Done. What about cook a pot roast or make a homemade organic household cleaner? No problem. Need to update your resume for a new job opportunity? You won’t even have to go online for that. You can probably just follow a template in your word processing program. You can easily find instructions and how-to videos to build a boat, dye your hair, solve complex algebraic equations, improve your public speaking and learn how to play the stock market. Heck, you can even get college degrees from major universities by “going” to school online.

I love the instant access to information. It gives me great pleasure to be able to find out nearly anything in a split second. In fact, if I get the little beach ball spinning for even a few seconds, I lament and groan about the process taking too long. Having this information at your fingertips is particularly helpful if you homeschool like we do, or simply if you are a parent for that matter. If I don’t know the answer to Graham’s nonstop questions, I can have it in a few clicks.

And while Page is now schooling outside of the home at Coastal Leadership Academy, she still relies heavily on technology. In fact, CLA encourages it, and rightly so. It is the future. Still, I’m also glad CLA’s project based learning model is very hands-on and not simply virtual. And just because the information is out there on how to bake the perfect apple pie from scratch, I still have to get flour on my hands if I want the finished product. Getting Graham all of his data is an awesome thing. But trust me, he still wants to physically build the thing.

Maybe I’m just being nostalgic, but somehow, even in the midst of modern technology and the advances it has afforded us, I’m longing for some old-fashioned face-to-face time with people. Maybe it’s because I missed so many opportunities. I’ll never be able to stand in the kitchen again with my mama and learn how she made biscuits. To be honest, I’m not so much interested in the biscuits. I’d really like to know her secret for unselfishly loving, serving and caring for four kids.

This November will make 10 years since she’s been gone. I wish I had asked her more questions. Somehow, Google just isn’t the same.