Thursday, August 25, 2011

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

When it comes to change, many fear it as much as the Borg. We think we are giving up something intrinsic and uniquely us if we adapt and assimilate.

In a recent news article:
“Many schools still have cell phone bans, but the prominence of the devices in everyday life and the educational opportunities they present have encouraged some educators to rethink those policies. Smart phones, which can be used for purposes such as taking notes and performing calculations, can fill in the technological gaps in schools without cutting-edge computers. For example, high-school teacher Jamie Williams said his students use their phones to take pictures and videos for art projects.” 

Years ago, movies were banned by those who feared the infiltration might ruin impressionable minds. While I was in school, movies became a staple in education…audio visual aids…they were called. Some of the students actually took courses to learn how to operate the devices and how to change reels. Of course, that was before DVDs.

When computers came along, some teachers thought it was the end of the world. Eventually, some educators began to see the value in students learning experience in spite of the well-meaning church folk who decided the Internet was the devil’s work. Now computers and DVDs and gadgets are used in the classroom as never before.

I guess my mother’s old standby, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” still holds true. Better to adapt and assimilate the new, to enhance the quality of experience, than fight to keep the tattered and continue mindlessly with the comfortable and proven.

Perhaps the biggest reason for resistance is the fact that the older we get, the longer it takes to process and learn. Maybe that’s why we want to hold to the old policies, to the old ways of doing things, to our antiquated equipment. It gets harder and harder to add new information to an all-ready crowded brain.  

I remember how my mother hollered when I wanted to buy her a cd player. “I’m too old to learn new ways of doing things,” she said, until her favorite nephew bought her one. Then, her attitude changed. “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”  

In her lifetime, she went from wringer washer machine and pedal-operated sewing machine to automatic clothes washer and an electric dishwasher. With each transition she fought the change until time, energy, or the insistence of others forced the change. Always, though, she was glad she finally capitulated.

I vehemently opposed the digital age. I swore up and down I’d never be able to learn how to use a computer. Then computers became mandatory on my job. I had no choice. “If you can’t beat em, join em.”

I’ll never be techno-smart, but I did learn that computers can greatly enhance the quality of life.  I learned not to resist so hard, but to embrace change. My generation has gone from manual typewriters to electric typewriters to computers, from dial access antenna operated televisions to remotes to cable, from VCRs to DVRs, from clumsy movie cameras to camcorders to digital recorders and smart phones that do it all.

Every aspect of our lives is touched by change. We can resist and miss out on the wonders the new brings, or we can get on the surf board of change and glide to shore, enjoying the ride.  

1 comment:

Marianne Evans said...

Great post!! And, so very, very true. The only sure thing in life (beyond God's loving grace, of course!) is change!!! We're not meant to be static, but to evolve. Tough proposition sometimes, though!! ;-)