We enjoyed our towns 4th of July parade this year with our god daughter and her parents. I commented to her mother and grandmother about a book I just finished called “Head in the Sand” by my friend Linda Au. It is a humorous account of stories from her life. In one story she describes how she and her daughter are watching a movie and the character licks a stamp to put on the envelope she is mailing. Her daughter innocently asks: Why did she have to lick the stamp? Only then does she realize that her daughter is too young to even know that we once licked stamps instead of having them pre-glued. It made us wonder: What things would our little three year old Megan not know about as she grew up.
Here are some things we considered:
– Stamps. She would never have to experience the nasty glue taste of a stamp. Heck, she might not ever have to mail anything. There might not be a postal service by the time she’s old enough to understand it! Writing a letter by hand is already a thing of the past… will she know the joy of pouring out your heart to someone on the back of a napkin that can be crumbled and forgotten instead of shot into cyber space or saved forever on a zip drive for potentially the whole word to read? (I am sure there are some gushy moments I have written down in my past that I am glad I cannot now call up on my computer every so often to swoon over … I cringe at the thought….)
– She may never know that you can turn a TV on without the remote. You can still turn a TV on without a remote can’t you? TV’s may talk back to you by the time she’s in her teens. We already have Skype. It might be completely interactive at that point.
– She will never listen to a cassette tape in her car. Or an 8 track. And she may never know what “vinyl” means.
– By the time she is sixteen, her car may not have a key to turn it on. Many even today have push button starts. This is, of course, assuming that we still have cars. And the gas to run them. My husband pointed out that we never had to hand crank a car like our grandparents did either. Or ride a horse to get to all our destinations. (Although if we run out of gas we might have to!)
– Desktop computers may be obsolete soon. She’ll never know how to hook up all the components, or that a mouse once had a wire attached, or that monitors used to take up half the desk space. When I was young and computers were first coming out they took up whole rooms! Now we can fit most into backpacks. Or smaller.
Even though Megan may never experience the things we had as kids, or our parents had as kids, I intend to show her.
My heart leaped as I watched her joyfully collecting her candy, but we would have to teach her what the 4th is really about as well. I pray she would never have to experience war and destruction, but would always know freedom. I vow to instill in her the need for the past, to know where we have come from, and to know all we have overcome. After all, if we cannot see where we’ve been–how do we know where to go? If we do not appreciate the hardships our forefathers endured—how do we know how good we have it?