Saturday, March 30, 2013
Let's Grow Up!
A column in today's Boston Globe by Carlo Rotella, “A good cry in digital isolation” bemoans how insular we have become as we “connect” electronically via devices while acting as if we are oblivious to those who actually surround us, even when sensing that they might need help or attention. It is ironic that a front page article in the same issue describes the decline of e-mail use by businesses and the young. That article is accompanied – on the front page of a major internationally-recognized newspaper – with a graph of the use of various electronic contact media and face-to-face conversation, by TEENS, age 12-17. The implication, one I have heard for over a decade, is that we grown-ups should follow the lead of our juniors. There was a time when it was generally accepted that there were things that adults could do, and children could not. You had to "wait until you grow up.” We chafed at this but accepted it. This is wisdom and insight we should not discard lightly. I believe that the admonition that “a child shall lead them” refers to child-like openness and wonder, not to children’s lack of experience and insight into what works and what does not in the world of work and society. The article and the column taken together tell me that how we “reach out” is far less important than learning to be fully human. Our choice of technology is insignificant compared to our need for maturity.