We are in an age of immediacy. We can have anything we want, pretty much when we want. We don’t have to wait for most things in our lives. It makes me wonder if this is a good thing.
I’m typing on my laptop, listening to songs on YouTube. I have a computer game waiting for me in the background (when I need inspiration, perhaps??) and I can look up synonyms of words in seconds. When I’ve finished writing, I could watch the latest episode of The Press with a click of a button. So why am I complaining about this immediacy?
I am sure I am not alone in remembering recording the charts on a Sunday evening on my old tape recorder. (Please don’t sue me – I have been buying albums since I had my own money!!) If I wanted a particular song, I had to fast-forward or rewind to find it. It could take quite a long time.
And I HAD to be in between 5.10 – 6 pm each weekday evening. Home and Away, followed by Neighbours. A friend of mine had both a Betamax and a VHS. She might be able to record an episode for us to watch if we knew we were going to be out. My brother bought a video recorder when I was about 15. I could sneakily tape them and watch when he wasn’t at home.
Not these days. No longer do we face the devastation of discovering the video tape had run out while you were on holiday. Or that your programme had overrun by a few minutes, and you hadn’t recorded the ending. Now, with the benefits of TV on demand, it takes a few clicks of a button to find the latest episode of a series. It will even remember where you are up to if you don’t finish in one sitting.
We had some work done to our house about 18 months ago. Before then, watching something on iPlayer was a complicated business. We either plugged the laptop into our 1990s TV, or stretched the broadband cable from one end of the house to the other. The children hadn’t know that TV “on demand” existed. They had recorded their favourites on the “box” quickly and easily, and were more than satisfied. After the work, there were now two televisions in the house that could instantly connect to the internet. As you may have read, we are majorly restricting their screen time at the moment. It doesn’t stop them being able to watch every episode of a series over a period of days.
I feel like they are missing out somehow. It is the same with tablets and computer games. They are immediate. It wasn’t much of a hardship to have to wait 5 minutes for The Crystal Cave to load up on our BBCb with a tape deck. It was frustrating when it then crashed! Oh, the luxury of going to the library and playing the same game but loading it with a floppy disc!
Having this immediacy in their formative years means that they don’t know how to wait for things. I used to relish the anticipation of the next episode of my favourite Aussie soaps. Having to wait wasn’t a hardship. It was a fact of life. I feel it taught me how to wait for other things. Having had to wait over 3 years to install a garage door that actually works, I truly appreciate it now.
How can we help those born in this age of immediacy learn how to wait? Many haven’t experienced the delicious wait for a reply to a letter from a loved one. Knowing it can’t come the next day, and is unlikely to be the day after, either.
- Take them out into nature. Mark the passing of time through the changing of the seasons.
- Turn off the internet if we are lucky enough to be able to go on holiday.
- Find them a pen friend. Help them to anticipate the return of a letter.
What do you remember having to wait for?
For more posts like this, follow Secrets of Heaven on Facebook.