Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kids As Teachers

O.K., when did it actually happen? When did this first take place? Of course, I am talking about the exact moment that my children became the teachers and I became the student!

After all, since their birth, I have been one of their most involved teachers, as I taught them to ride bikes, listen to quality music, appreciate the right things in life, how to clean the garage, how to rake leaves (well, O.K., their skills have dwindled in those last two areas!!), how to eat and drink, how to get rid of the diapers forever, how to drive a car (starting with their toy “Barbie” and “Corvette” cars), and, well, just about everything else that comes to mind.

Yes, as one of their first teachers, I have spent several thousand days as their instructor! But, it was noted that it all recently changed.

For starters, my kids convinced me to get my own iPod, instead of borrowing theirs or getting a new CD player for the car. I had already decided that I would never succumb to purchasing such a highly developed technological device, irrespective of the convenience that it would bring to me! After all, my turntables and 8-Track players still work just fine!

But, shortly after this past Christmas, my kids finally convinced me that it was time for their dad to take the plunge. My daughter even arranged a deal in which it would only cost me $30.00 for a used iPod Classic! Even I had to admit that the deal was too good to pass up!

So, after laying out the cash for the iPod and armed with a bevy of jazz music, classical music, and pastoral sermons on CD’s (yes, I was kidding about the 8-Tracks!), I was all set to place all of them on my iPod. I could already picture the multitude of uses, including listening with extreme ease to anything while driving or running, instead of digging for a CD that had fallen under the driver’s seat! There was only one problem: I had no clue how to put the CD’s on my iPod!

So, my kids, anxious to become my teacher and appearing to enjoy the role way too much, sat down at the computer with me to take me through the steps. The first step, as they explained it, was to create my own Playlist, not so much to help me, but so that my music and sermons would not somehow land on their Playlists (apparently, that would be considered to be highly embarrassing to whippersnappers of today!).

After creating my very own Playlist, they told me to enter a CD in the disc drive. They calmly and methodically took me through the remainder of the steps, including exiting the “Download” screen and entering the “Music” screen, naming each track, listing the artist, the name of the album, and categorizing each CD. Although it took nearly 5 minutes to pour through the naming of each sermon CD, my kids assured me that they are now named forever.

Well, O.K., I can handle that! I told them that I would be fine for the next several hours, as I would not need any help from this point forward. After all, I was the dad and the “Master Teacher” in the family!!!

After my first CD was loaded, named, and transferred to my very own Playlist, they moved to other activities in house, leaving me alone to put several CD’s on my Playlist. Trying to remember the steps, I loaded the CD, named each track, named each artist, categorized each one, and then attempted to transfer them to my iPod. BIG PROBLEM! When I transferred the tracks to my iPod, they were not titled; they had no artists named; and they were not categorized. How could this happen?

Well, I did what any good and conscientious student would do – I called my teachers and asked them to help me! After I calmly and methodically explained the steps that had led to my predicament, all of them exploded into laughter!!!!! Through their laughter, they explained that I had to get out of the “Download” list and into the “Music” list before naming the tracks, artists, category, etc. THEN I could transfer everything into my own Playlist … an embarrassing “Ah-Ha” moment!

I reminded them that I had not laughed at them when they fell off of their bikes, spilled milk all over themselves, etc., so why did they laugh at me? Through their continued laughter, I thought that I heard words like, “You can tell that dad is over 30”, “Well, you always told us to follow instructions exactly as they were given and you did not follow your own advice”, and “Sorry dad, it’s just hilarious”!!

Oh sure, it’s hilarious all right! Apparently, it’s quite funny when the “Teacher” becomes the “Student” and, well, the student misses one important part of the lesson that he used to teach with gusto to his students!

But, it certainly cemented a reminder for all of us: Always listen to your teachers (as my kids have always listened to me - well, mostly!) and do exactly what they say! Leaving out a step in the process can lead to .... iPod frustration and laughter from your former and still-current students turned teachers!!!!!

Paul W. Reeves

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