I forgot what it was like to be a four-year-old. Then again, I was never a four-year-old like today’s generation, techno savvy, digitally wired, hyped up on Bubble Guppies, Organic Honey Grahams and fruit you can squeeze out of a tube. (Can we please have these for adults?)
I was a 70’s child, bottle fed, and dressed in terry cloth jumpers. Like most kids, I played Tinker Toys and read the blue hardback Bible while waiting in the doctor’s office, (Lot’s wife turning to salt always scared me). I listened to “I’m Free to Be You or Me.” Marlo Thomas, Alan Alda and celebrities like Michael Jackson taught tolerance, that a boy or girl could do anything, that it was “All Right to Cry.” I went to arcades to play video games–Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. My closest encounter to a digital device was Lite-Brite, a plastic illuminated matrix you could fill in with colored pegs to create pictures. Those were the days. Those were MY days.
To point out the obvious…times have changed. The year 2014 makes my childhood seem pre-historic. Forgive me if I’m flummoxed, but it’s still dizzying to hold an iPad. Dragging a finger across a screen to read a book or expand a photo with the spread of two fingers is UNBELIEVEABLE. Talking to a friend 5,000 miles away on Face Time? How does that even happen?!?!
I know I should stop being amazed, (but I’m not). People are getting selected to go to Mars! We have robots that mow lawns and vacuum houses, electric cars and Wi-Fi on airplanes and wearable technology—Google Glass and that’s only the beginning. Companies now have prototypes for flying cars, lab-grown burgers (funded primarily by Google cofounder Sergey Brin) and drones that can deliver packages. Look at this video from Amazon. Could Prime Air be the solution to USPS’s rising prices?
It’s all so every day. My daughter doesn’t blink at any of it. She expects it. She understands it. It’s her world. And while there’s no letting up on problems: ice caps melting, animals going extinct, reality TV…I take hope with each advance that somehow, someday, we’ll solve life’s REAL issues, not just how to shop faster.
I’m glad my daughter is growing up in an era of possibility, where dreams are as big as traveling to Mars or as small as drawing a picture with your finger on a screen. We don’t need to sing about “free to be you or me,” it’s obvious. We see it. We live it. Anyone can be anything. Parents lean in…this is happening.
So when my four-year-old picked up my iPhone and said, “Mommy I’m going to do a photo shoot of you.” I didn’t argue. I went with it. And when she told me to “Look Fearless,” I steeled my eyes and channeled my inner 21st Century kid. If anyone is fearless, it’s this generation of little Einstein’s who don’t seem to know the meaning of fear. My advice: The next time you want to capture the moment, don’t take a selfie, hand your iPhone to a kid who can really teach you something about perspective (and look fearless).