Let's pretend for a second that we really are sitting together at your kitchen table (or mine, whichever) and we're drinking coffee together. This is topic I really would bring up because I'm totally intense when it comes to conversations (thanks real life people who put up with this all the time: B, mum, dad, kayla, tasha, gigi, pap, katie, stace). But just go with me here, no cleaned up, pinterest-friendly blog talk here, this is real life tab stuff, so brace yourself.
This past Easter, as in all Easters of my motherhood, without fail I forgot how to boil eggs. So, as I was bustling around getting things in order to spend the morning corralling the kids and their wobbly hands, I reached for my phone to google 'how to boil an egg.'
I don't know what made me pause, it could have been that the upcoming Screen free week was on my mind (our third consecutive year participating) or that my grandma passed away seven years ago around Easter and I was missing her - but for whatever reason I paused before I opened my internet browser on my phone and thought,
if I didn't look this up right now,
if I didn't have the internet,
who would I ask?
So, even though it wasn't as easy or as fast as typing the question in and getting an answer within a nanosecond of 'how to boil an egg' (step by step photos included!), I called my Mum instead and asked her.
I got my answer, let her know that her grandkids were coloring eggs that morning (she'd have seen the instagram in an hour otherwise) and I thanked her for the help.
It's not that I don't think my parents (or anyone else) have the answer, but it's just easier/faster to get it from the internet. So when push comes to shove, in a world where easier/faster is preferred (sometimes necessary at the expected pace of performance!), I pick the internet as my first choice to find answers.
What does that feel like from their side (Mum? Dad? Gigi? Pap? Mimi?) I'm guessing it feels like they're not needed. At least not in that way: not in the dispensing of wisdom and experience way? And that's awful and makes me feel awful. Or maybe they don't think about it at all, it's just the way things are now? I doubt it, because thinking about my own kids growing up and not calling to ask us how to boil an egg/change a tire/make pasta salad makes me feel sad.
Children are supposed to grow up and be able to function all by themselves, that's the point of parents after all. But what does it say about our society's ideas on wisdom or experience, or even respect for elders when we get all of our answers and understanding about the world from the (mostly) anonymous internet?
It was one tiny moment - calling my mum about boiling eggs, but one that I have kept thinking about since then, six months later! We are also reading The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart in The Inspired Readers book club this month, and it has me reflecting on this thought even more. Furthermore, I recently watched the amazing documentary Alive Inside (about Alzheimer's and nursing homes- it's on Netflix!) which has only further pushed me into reflection on this idea.
Surely my experience is not singular in the world, and so then what are the implications that technology and access to all answers at all times, has on family relationships? On mothers and daughters? on sons and fathers? on grandkids and grandparents? On how the young in our society views the elderly?
Do we value easier/faster over real life experience and earned wisdom? I venture to say yes, but then what implications does that have on our society? on each of our families? on our kids?
This post in no way has any answers or solutions, or even really a hypothesis. And it's not to proclaim that I make the consistent effort to choose human answers over internet answers, cause I don't. like at all.
I've just been thinking about it and now I hope you'll be thinking about it and maybe just because it's in our brains now, we can maybe figure out how to strengthen our relationships with the people we love.
What if this week, instead of googling the answer to a question you have, I challenge you (and me) to ask a real life human. Just see what happens, maybe nothing. Maybe everything.