Thursday, December 12, 2013
First, my high schooler texted me. "Mom, I left my tablet home today--I don't need it. But can you go on it and email me my Italian document? I need it today."
I picked up the tablet and, after a minute, figured out how to turn it on. Then I remembered it has Windows 8, an operating system I've only seen a few times (and haven't really used at all). No problem, use the keyboard password option instead of the Swype one, since I know it. Find the email program, start looking for a document with a title that sounds like it's in Italian. As I was doing this and instructing my younger son to go brush his teeth, the phone rang.
It was a girlfriend, and she had a request: her son needed a document printed for class today, but their printer is broken. He had shared the document in Google Docs with my son. Would we please log on and print it, and have my son deliver it on the bus?
No problem. I booted up my PC while my son was brushing his teeth, then instructed him on what to do while I continued looking for the Italian document to email my older boy.
We were such a buzz of activity, I felt like I was back on the Help Desk, doing tech support for colleagues and clients just as I did in my twenties. And just like then, even though it was chaotic and hurried (we did have a bus to catch, after all), I got such a rush from it all that I felt young again.
I see now where my sons get their enthusiasm to help out, whether it be around the house or volunteering for every community service opportunity that comes along. There's a great feeling that comes from helping others, from being a part of something bigger than yourself. For some, this type of work may make them feel like nothing more than cogs in a machine. But for others, being the gears that help keep things humming reminds us that we are all part of something bigger. And when we can help others out in some way, no matter how small, we are removing stress and spreading happiness. Ultimately, it can all add up to a better world. Didn't we all feel we could change the world when we were in our twenties? It's gratifying to realize we always possess that power, no matter how old, or young, we are.
Posted by Christine Adler