"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sharing Technology

Our family does pretty well, but we don't have a lot of extra cash. So donations of cold, hard cash are difficult to come by if you knock at our door.

Our family is also busy, just like everyone else. But most often it's easier for us to find time to share than money to share. And really, which do YOU remember most: time spent with friends, loved ones and strangers who rise to the occasion in your time of need; or the gifts, perhaps cash, perhaps goodies, that you receive? Over the long haul, I'm willing to bet most people remember the priceless gift of time spent together.

Today I spent the heart of the day with a family friend who needed some help learning how to make her camera, computer, CD burner and e-mail all work together. During a phone call earlier this week she expressed some confusion about how to get all these newfangled gadgets going. I volunteered to help out - at her home about 40 miles north of ours.

The project:
Teaching a senior how to make new technology work for her, to keep her in closer contact with her family and friends.

90-minutes driving
60 minutes at the computer (but there was a lot of visiting going on, too)

Why bother:
Helping older people keep up with technology can provide them access to family photos, family news and a plethora of social opportunities available in today's techno-centric world.

Worth it?
I've known Betty since I was 5 years old. Our relationship began when she took on the job of babysitting me, but we became family friends. For more than three decades now, she's provided countless lessons, hours of her time, gallons of hot chocolate and buckets of wonderful, dimpled smiles. This volunteer effort provided me the opportunity to help HER out for a change and provided us both an opportunity to catch up. Oh, and after we were finished with the computer stuff, we carried on our conversation over lunch, then a shared ride to the grocery store.

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