INKLINGS: Thumb suckin’ techie

  • Thursday, March 7, 2013

Quite often when in church I pray for inspiration to find a subject for an upcoming column. Recently God sent one immediately – and in the same pew. My local family took up nine seats in a row last month for the performance of the Fourth Annual Sweetgrass Festival of Children’s Voices held in Bethany United’s beautiful church. This gathering of five area choruses included the University Children’s Chorus in residence at Charleston Southern. Two of our grandchildren, Riley and Grace, were singing Jubilate Deo with that group.
Our son David, the children’s father, sat next to me and during a lull in the vocal renderings while the various singers changed places, I said to him that I had a new computer program. It was (naturally) causing me some heartburn and if he found himself in Summerville one day soon, I’d give him a Dagwood sandwich if he’d give me a little time and try to drum a trickle more of computerese into this ole’ head. David is my electronic guru, but I’m always loath to ask him for help as he lives in North Charleston and is mighty busy with many other minor details, like his architectural practice and his wife Amy and their three kids. He’s very gracious though and thank God – very patient – and will always come as soon as he can. But he said, grinning at me, “If I can’t make it, I’ll send Adam.”
I glanced at the four-year-old sitting next to him, who was busy navigating on his mother’s iPad. He had the minicomputer propped up on his knees and gazed intently at the screen holding his tiny hands up. Suddenly he sat back in satisfaction, inserted his left thumb firmly into his mouth and plied the keyboard with his right hand like a miniature Van Kliburn. “What on earth is he doing,” I asked David.
“Searching through to find the program he wants so he can play the games he wants and in the order he wants,” explained his father. I remembered a couple of years ago when our phone rang and Jim picked it up only to be greeted by gurgling sounds. “This is worse than some of the babble we usually get”, he grumped and was about to disconnect when the caller clearly said to him “Pop Pop,” and the line went dead. David told us later that Adam was teaching himself the cell phone. Apparently he’s mastered that and is well into the iPad.
“How on earth does he learn do make the computer work for him like that,” I asked bewildered,  “He just picks it up and tries it out and learns that way mom”. And it’s the best way, David told me for the umpteenth time.
Well maybe he’s right. On the next occasion I need help and if my son can’t come and I can’t spring Adam from K4, I’ll try the latter’s method. I’ll gaze intently at the screen, firmly insert thumb and get on with it.

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