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I’m only 59. Yes, a dinosaur to my kids perhaps, but not technologically. Many of my peers certainly are computer savvy and carry smart phones (and know how to use them), but a surprising number are adamantly denying the need for technology. “I got along all these years with a pen and paper and a phone,” they say. I try to explain why it is important to their relationships with their children and grandchildren. They huff and puff and tell me why kids have no respect these days! I invoke Kahlil’s Gibran’s “The Prophet’s” chapter “On Children,” but they won’t listen. (It is printed below. A beautiful poem from one of the most amazing books ever written.) But I digress.

Some of the obvious reasons in the relationship domain are simply related to how things are done nowadays. Don’t have texting? You may never get that last minute notice that someone is running late. You’ll be standing out in the cold waiting and wondering if they forgot your appointment. Have a computer but you check email only once a week? You’re missing invitations to join people who do use it. Don’t have a smart phone? When you break down, you’re going to have to figure out where you so you can tell AAA. Have no cell phone at all? Good luck finding a pay phone to even call AAA!

I consider my smartphone, the most powerful computer in a tiny box, my auxiliary brain. It remembers far more than I ever could, and why should I tax my brain when I can look it up. What’s “it” you ask? Anything, everything, and more. Hell, I don’t even have to type in my question. I just ask Siri to find things for me, dial the phone, give me directions, find the nearest place to eat, gas station, or bathroom. I ask her to play a song, make an appointment, write me a reminder note, take a photo, post to Facebook, send a text or email. She looks up any address or phone number. Best of all, if I lose my phone, everything I put on there is backed up on my computer and my iPad. Making my plans, writing a letter, reading a book? I can put down my phone in the living room and resume reading/typing in the bedroom, on a different device. It knows where I left off.

If I’m in the store and see something we need and want to show it to my husband for his opinion? Bam! Take photo, text to husband, he replies and I buy it or don’t. Time lapsed – 3 minutes. Time saved returning to the store later; priceless!

And if you have grandchildren, you’d better get with it. If you ever want to see pictures of them or communicate with them when they get old enough to use mom’s iPad (at about one and a half years old) you better have some technological device on which to receive it.

I may sound like a commercial for Apple, and maybe it is, but I can’t deny that life is so much easier with an auxiliary brain in my pocket.

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

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