Across The Universe: Change — like it or not, it’s inevitable
On March 19, I’ll be participating with a slew of other local “celebrities” to help cook food at the Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe’s Kids 1st Breakfast event. Click here to read more about the event.
Disclaimer: I put the word “celebrities” in quotes because that’s the word graciously bestowed upon us by the club. Sheepishly, and I may speak for several of those who will join me in volunteering for the 9:30 a.m. event in Kings Beach, I’m far from a celebrity. Rather, I’m just a hard-working resident who looks to find time to volunteer and help others when I can.
But I digress. In preparation for the event, each of us was asked to answer a short Q-and-A, and I was particularly struck by the following question: “What is the thing you most miss about being a kid?”
Plenty came to mind (how our bodies were seemingly indestructible 20 and 30 years ago, how we had no worries about responsibility in the form of paying bills and “being adults,” etc.), but I quickly responded with the following:
“The thing I miss most was that, for the most part, cellphones and social media and the Internet did not exist, so we had to communicate the old-fashioned way — by phone, or riding up the block on our bikes to meet a friend.”
After spending a few minutes lost in the nostalgia of flying down the street in my 10-speed Huffy bicycle, circa age 10, no helmet, dirty from head to toe, and not a care in the world, my mind then drifted to last week.
On Leap Day, we spent an hour hosting a class of sixth-graders from Forest Charter School at our Truckee office. The kids learned about the history of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, and they asked a heck of a lot of questions about our papers, our website, and our business in general.
At one point, we started talking about how more and more readers are consuming information via smartphone, and how we continue to look to evolve our digital strategy to make it easier to read our news on your mobile device.
At this point, not fully sure how well kids in the 10- to 12-year age groups these days are immersed in technology, I somewhat feebly asked, “How many of you have smartphones?”
I was surprised to see most of the students immediately raise their hands — after all, I didn’t buy a cellphone until my third year in college, back in 2004.
Yes, it’s no secret we live in a vastly different world these days. For me, I can look back 20 years and recall an era that at the time seemed so modern, but now seems so dated.
And that’s just 32-year-old, still-young-in-many-minds me. I can only imagine residents in their 40s, 50s, 60s and so on, marveling — or, perhaps, bemoaning — at the mobile device-driven world we live in today.
Change is not easy, and embracing the digital age can be a tough sell for some, but I welcome the evolution, albeit with the caveat that it’s our responsibility as adults to set appropriate parameters.
Remember that 20 years ago, we never saw today’s world coming, so I urge everyone to take a moment and try to think what 2036 will bring us.
Nostalgia is one thing — but living in the past, instead of looking at ways to move forward, is the opposite example that we’re obligated as adults to set for our youth.
Kevin MacMillan is managing editor of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. He may be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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