Understanding the basics

Part of my last job was teaching K-12th grade students Computer Information Technology. While I was teaching my students, I myself was a student at our local community college working on a Web Design Degree.

This combination of circumstances offered me a unique opportunity. The students that were coming out of high school were lacking what I consider to be a vital piece of the technology puzzle; the basics. Problem-solving and critical thinking are the root of the basics.

With the advantage of learning computers from the beginning, I learned CLI and Basic programming before GUI was even a thing (Fascinated with Electronics). And back then, the only place to get information was from the two three-ring binders that came with our PC (The first model released to the public by IBM). We did have a set on encyclopedias up on the shelf but they didn’t offer much information on this new technology that I had at my fingertips.

I know some of you younger readers are going to gasp when I say this, but if you can only imagine, there was no such thing as the internet at that time. I have often thought, being the knowledge junkie that I am, how overloaded my brain would be today if I had access to Google and YouTube when I was a teenager.

With what I did have available at the time, I taught myself DOS and BASIC programming. At the age of 19, I took my first college course – in BASIC programming, of course. I was already married and a new mom at the time, so I took the course through the mail. SNAIL mail (again for you younger readers, this is what we older people call the actual mail you send through the post office.). Email wasn’t really a thing yet either. Oh. And cell phones didn’t exist.

When I completed my final project, my professor had to ask me to explain where I got the information that I used to create a graphic Yahtzee-type game as my final project for his Introduction to BASIC class.

Taking college courses today with the kids coming out of high school, It seems that the large majority know very little about technology. Because the technology has advanced so much with GUI (graphical user interface), we are losing the knowledge of what is underneath the hood, so to speak.

There seem to be fewer and fewer kids going into the technology field. My daughter was one of those honored with the title of High Honors for her high school career. Sitting in the auditorium of our small, local high school, I watched as one student after another walked across the stage and announced what they planned to study in college. Sadly, out of well over one hundred graduates receiving the distinction of High Honors, I was able to count on ONE hand, the number of them planning to enter any kind of technology field.

If your child is obsessed with electronics, I think you would be doing your child and yourself a great service to encourage them to use that obsession in a positive way. Yes, they will most likely squawk about it at first, but in the end you many be very surprised at the outcome.

As a technology teacher, I would recommend starting the younger kids out with something like code.org. If your child is older, they may be ready for codeacademy.com. Help them learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Math, although dreaded by many, doesn’t have to be a drudgery. I love tutoring students in math. I really believe that math is a subject that everyone can be good at. It is very critical, however, to try different approaches in teaching it to cater to an individuals learning style. Parents dread math because it wasn’t explained to them in a way that made sense. As a result, they unintentionally pass that dread on to their kids.

One of my go-to supplemental tools for teaching math is Khanacademy.org. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it is a good place to start. Find someone who is passionate about math to mentor you or your child.

When my students were old enough (as early as 4th grade), I would begin teaching them, in my tech class, about binary and the concept of number systems and how they work.

With technology growing at such an exponential rate, critical thinking and problem solving, will benefit anyone entering the job market. Even if you aren’t entering the job market, I’ve heard it is a great way to keep your mind sharp!! 😉

COMEDY OF ERRORS

Theater masks

My youngest daughter has just finished her first year at college. She and her boyfriend love to spend time at the gym and hang out with friends afterward. Unfortunately, due to his work schedule, they don’t usually get to the gym until after nine o’clock at night. Being a mom, it is difficult for me to fall asleep before she is home. I do usually manage somehow, to get some z’s before she gets home. She is very respectful and TRIES to remember to text me and keep me posted.

One night recently, however, did not go so smoothly. I had friends over and we talking about blogging, faith, and life in general. It was a great evening. When my husband and I went to bed that night, he asked me where our daughter was, which surprised me because I thought she was home. I texted her to ask where she was. After an hour with no reply, I texted again.

I was getting a little impatient. It as now 1:09 AM, so I sent her the “mom’s frustrated” text. This is the one where I type each letter of their name as a separate tet and finish it off with at least one text consisting of only an exclamation point.

I finally came out to the living room to look out to see if her car was here. Nope. I called and texted her boyfriend and when he finally answered, he said that she was not with him. He said it was strange that she wasn’t home because she had been home when she was texting him before they both fell asleep last night.

Epiphany

Then it hit me. I opened the door and actually stepped outside to look for her car. Just beyond the spot she normally parks was her car. Her usual spot had been occupied by our friends’ car early when she got home from work.

After apologizing profusely to her boyfriend for waking him up, we were able to laugh about the mishap.

When I got up and read these texts it is pretty easy to giggle. 😉

Worry

I don’t panic often, and worry very infrequently. This wasn’t always the case. When I was younger I would constantly let my mind dwell on the “what if’s”. I focused on my trust of people and my fear for their safety.

In hind sight, I find my worry almost as comical as the situation described above. One of my favorite Bible verses asks the question (and I am paraphrasing here), “Really Amy? Exactly how many times has your worrying had any impact on ANYTHING? Except maybe the addition of that wonderful ulcer you had back in your twenties!” OK, so maybe that was more than just paraphrasing. You can read the ACTUAL verse that brought that thought to mind at the bottom of this post. See if you can guess which one it was. 😉

What was even more comical? I believed I could keep my loved ones safe As IF! If I couldn’t be with them, worrying was the next best thing. Right?

Maybe it is totally possible for someone without faith in the Savior that I have found, and who now dwells deep in the core of my being, to concur worry and fear. However, it is impossible for me to understand how.

I think maybe the situation that happened that night with my daughter was God reminding me that worry is fruitless.

Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me to keep my eyes on you. Thank you for being my Savior and giving me peace of mind, and allowing me to trust that you and only you hold the future in your hands. That even through the trials and life-altering situations in life, you have a much better future planned than I could even imagine.

Bible Verses Addressing Worry

Obtained from Biblegateway.com

Matthew 6:27 New International Version (NIV)

27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Matthew 6:25-34 New International Version (NIV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.