In a prior post I outlined the in-depth process I went through to determine the direction I’d take for college. Yeah, right…It involved receiving (appropriate) prodding from my Dad and a 60-second snap decision (that turned out quite well). The direction I chose: Computer Programming.
Upon arriving at college I literally didn’t know how to use the memory functions on a basic calculator. It wasn’t that I never had the opportunity to do so, I just never took the time. To put it mildly, I was at a disadvantage. And, nearly flunked out of my first semester.
Fast forward…More than a dozen years ago my wife and I were having a conversation about the proliferation of technology and the importance of making sure our kids were “tech savvy.” We took a first step: we bought a PC the kids could share.
What were we thinking?!?!? 4 curious kids competing for the use of a single computer. It soon became a battleground we had to navigate and negotiate to keep the kids from killing each other and/or the computer. Not long afterwards we ended up getting a PC for each. While this was cause for a bit of friction between my wife and I, we now look back and agree that it is one of the best decisions we’ve made (for our kids).
Yes, we needed ground rules, especially related to where they could go on the internet. To support this, there are software solutions with parental controls that are fairly easy to administer. And, yes, the kids will try to disable, get around or otherwise sabotage these controls further reinforcing the benefits of them having their “own” computer. That is, when they hose things up after trying to disable controls they will feel the pain of not having a working computer (better their’s than mine). Then, we get to work together learning system administration skills 🙂
As the kids got older and their PC’s slowed down (as they always do!!!) they began acquiring their own computing devices. My 2 oldest went to (what I thought was) the dark side: They went with Macs. After they did so, I had many “ah ha” moments, which are outlined in an article I wrote several years ago, resulting in my own conversion — to the BRIGHT side. I bought a MacBook Pro in 2009 that I am still HAMMERING ON daily. It has been almost 5 years! I’ve NEVER had a Windows-based machine that I could keep performing at a reasonable rate for more than 2-3 years.
A human should NOT have to wait for a computer.
At this point, our household is nearly 100% Apple. And, my system and network administration duties are next to nothing. Yes, the family is more tech savvy today than ever. However, my experience is that the total cost of ownership (cash and time) of a Mac computer is FAR LOWER than that of a Windows-based machine.
In summary, enabling our kids to become tech savvy “taught Dad a lesson.” And, our oldest is presently at the top of his class, at the college he is attending — working towards his Bachelor’s Degree in Web Development 🙂
I firmly believe that the solid “self-education” he acquired by becoming tech savvy at a very early age has enabled his success. The other 3 are also benefiting in their own way. While they may or may not center their career around a technical vocation, I am 1000% confident in the fact that being technically savvy will serve them well regardless of their path!