A few days ago, I came across Google’s Teach Parents Tech initiative. I was so pleased. We probably all went through that phase when we claimed that our parents understood nothing of us, our music, our clothes, and our tools and accessories. Whenever parents tried to fix the wires on a computer, plug in our Ataris, or even clean a CD, kids rolled their eyes. The impression back then was: “Get with the program, already!”. And you could feel some kind of resentment; because they were parents, they couldn’t afford ‘not knowing’, so why didn’t they ‘know’? Well, most of us thought they were explicitly shunning new technology.
At home, things were different. My mother made sure we were always be exposed to the latest technology, and if you were in Lebanon at that time, you know that was not easy. I had my first computer when I was 5 years old. She spent hours installing and reinstalling ‘Prince of Persia’, ‘Asterix et Obelix’ and other games, and going over DOS commands and color codes because I ‘someone I know’ had switched files around just to see what would happen. And I used to do that a lot. I was the kid who dismantled computers and radios only to try and determine what each component was for, and then try and come up with something else. I still have old electronic circuits (chips!) in my own Pandora box, hidden in the attic. When I had finally understood how things worked, I would go ahead and move onto something else .Did I ever really take the time to eventually explain the ‘fix’ to my mother? Rarely. But she had her own professional life to keep up with, and I didn’t feel the need to explain things that my then teenage mind thought she was very far from ever needing. But that was in the 90s. Continue reading Tweet