Technologically Speaking, My Kids Are OK

My wife and I have five children. We didn’t start out wanting a big family; it just sort of happened. With the birth of each child we swore that was the last one and then sometime later we would realize that we were wrong and that we were meant to have another child in our house.

When they were all young, the house was chaotic. No matter how hard we tried to instill order it never seemed to work. After our third child was born I realized that it was hopeless to even try since the children now outnumbered the parents. Oh sure the kids will at times try to make us feel like we are in control but deep down we all know that really isn’t the case.

Now that our youngest is reaching the teenage years I seriously thought it would get easier. Again I was completely erroneous in my assumption. If anything raising teenagers is substantially more difficult than raising small children. Not only are teenagers higher maintenance but they are also way more expensive.

When they were young we could get by on birthdays and Christmas with small gifts. As they grew older the holiday gift giving has gotten substantially more expensive. There are probably several reasons for this and I am sure most of it is my fault (at least that is what my wife continues to tell me).

She is probably right; I really didn’t set us up for success when it came to the kids. I have always been someone fascinated with new technology and wanting to tinker with the latest and greatest device as soon as it came out.

Couple that with the fact that I live and breath computers and the Internet and you can soon see that I have created an environment where the children are fascinated by technology and just assume that every family is engulfed in evaluating new hardware and software.

Each of the children has had their own computer since the time they were old enough to walk. When we moved to Arizona and built our house I wired it for networking (then unheard of). The kids have been exposed to the Internet even before it was known as the Internet.

With such an experimental environment they have adapted to change differently than what I would have anticipated. Rather than worry as operating systems or technologies come and go, they tend to shrug this off as a natural phenomenon. They don’t cling to technology or have any preconceived notion of backward compatibility.

Instead they look at technology as an enabler that will allow them to expand their knowledge. When it ceases to provide that function it is recycled and replaced with something new. This was never anything that we taught them but rather something they learned through trial and error based on their environment.

It has had a fascinating effect as the kids have grown. They seem less worried about uncertainty than many of their peers. They tend to embrace the unknown and view it as an adventure rather than something to fear.

I would love to take credit for developing some sort of secret to parenting but instead I’m left standing here scratching my head wondering how exactly this happened. Despite my failures as a human being and as a father my kids seem to be turning out ok. Now just because I said that they will all come home completely whacked out of their heads tomorrow sporting some odd colored hair and piercing their bodies with who knows what.

But like every other change we’ll learn to adapt and embrace the unknown and try to figure out how it can be used to make our lives more interesting. I only wish I would have taught them the value of a good back-up. There have been more than a few times I would like to rewind and fix an error I have introduced into the system.


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