TCKs and Tech
I have to come clean and admit that I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I am at the same time amazed and grateful that so much information and more can be at my fingertips whenever needed, and annoyed that so much family time is spent behind a screen. Technology is supposed to make things quicker, easier, more efficient, but can often morph into such a time suck. That being said, I have to admit, in relationship to the TCK lifestyle, I have a pretty big technology crush.
I’ve lived abroad for somewhere in the range of 18 years of my adult life. In that time, moving from country to country, it became pretty easy to lose track of people. Enter Facebook into my life about five years ago. Not only am I in touch with people from various stages and continents of my life, but I can send out a note about a meeting place while anywhere near these special people, and get to see familiar faces on a quick and easy regular basis. In between, I can virtually meet spouses and children, have a screen seat at graduations and award ceremonies, and more. It really does help me to feel more in touch with the people and places I’ve left behind.
Conversely, people are continually leaving me behind. As a longer term resident of our transient community, it is helpful to be able to see photos of people settling into their new lives and surroundings, and to make quick plans to join them there. No current goodbye is complete without Facebook “friendings” and promises to hit that profile page. My youngest lost a best friend since kindergarten to a move last year and has been able to reconnect with her this year at various homes, sporting events and vacation spots nearly half a dozen times. Much of the quick and easy planning for this is thanks to e-mail, Facebook posts and more. Not to mention their Skype dates and Snapchat photo exchanges.
All of those pros being addressed, I have to say my ultimate love affair with technology has developed quite recently. Not only could my oldest daughter handle the majority of her college search struggles and successes online (the Naviance program offered at our and many schools is a great clearing house and informational source for college bound students), she could also handle her nascent college social life at the ends of her fingertips. Gone are the days of showing up at your dorm and being thrown together, for better or worse, with strangers. Through a Facebook page started immediately after acceptance for the class of 2017, my daughter has already met and computer conversed with a wide range of people and potential college friends, and, get this, chosen a roommate who already feels more like a friend than a stranger. They’ve discussed literature and lifestyles and watched (and liked the photos of) each others’ recent big events such as prom and graduation. For this college parent who will be a continent away, it’s pretty calming to know my daughter already has a lot in common, and a history, of sorts, with the person who will be sharing her very up close and personal space next year.
Not to mention the Skype time that I am looking forward to, with a leaving daughter who will always be in my heart, although much farther away next year. I went to pick up a good friend for dinner this year and smiled when I received a text that she was” Skyping” with her away-at-college son and would be out in a couple minutes. “No rush”, I texted (yes, I can text, although at turtle speed compared to my daughters) back. I knew my time would be coming to be in the same shoes, and on the same screen, and wanted her to savor that form of technology togetherness.
So, for now, this TCK mom is going to give technology some credit and admit that my heartstrings are currently tugged by technology. That is, of course, until my computer randomly powers off for some updates and I lose what I was working on. Or until I am once again aggravated that I can no longer see my youngest daughter’s beautiful face while hidden behind that enemy screen.
Enemy is too strong of a word. Even the best of relationships have challenges and difficulties and are not perfect (note to my husband of 23 years to keep this in mind as I adjust to the family changes next year!) The computer screen will be, after all, that same means to see my oldest daughter’s beautiful face next year, and hear her voice and share in her life, a continent away.
Technology…How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
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