I spoke to my grandma over the phone yesterday. When I called, she was just “behind the computer”. I know she’s been taking a computer class at her local center for senior citizens for a while now. But I never expected her to show so much determination and to keep at it. Well, yesterday I was proven wrong when I asked how she was doing and she excitedly told me all about how she now uses a PC every day.
Now, you should know that her husband, my grandpa, has been online for years now. He has three blogs, posts photos on Facebook Pages like a pro, creates learning materials in PowerPoint, keeps a family tree online and what not. But up until this year, my grandma never showed much interest for all this modern technology. She’d frown when I visited and grandpa immediately took me aside, so I could troubleshoot some computer stuff or teach him a new trick. For her, my grandpa’s obsession with his PC was just a silly hobby of his.
“I use the computer to write a journal every day now,” was one of the first things my grandma proudly mentioned yesterday. “I write what I planted in the garden, things like that. And I keep track of our expenses.” I was impressed. But the good part was still coming: “And you know that I’m interested in herbs. Now I can just use the internet to see when something should be planted and gathered. And I also read news.” Wow, my grandma is online! “And crosswords. I do crosswords every day. It’s much easier now. Whenever there’s something I don’t know, I can just look it up on the internet.”
I’m of course extremely happy for her for making the effort of learning something new, something out of her comfort zone. And she practically did it on her own. She applied for the classes, she’s now practicing every day and finding new uses that fit in her everyday life. “I do chores in the morning, make lunch. And then in the afternoon, it’s my computer time,” grandma went on. I could hear the excitement in her voice. The joy of discovering the access to the world’s knowledge at your fingertips. “It keeps my mind active, you know. I don’t use the computer as much as your grandpa, I’m too busy for that. But every afternoon I do sit behind the computer and do something.”
The story is just too good not to share. It shows that it’s never too late to learn, to embrace new technologies. And it also reminds us how important it is to have learning opportunities for those who have been left behind for some reason or another and want to catch up. Everyone is not online yet, but my grandma now is.