I googled “Boxing Day” last night, just to make sure I knew exactly what it was for today. That act triggered a childhood memory. If you’re an 80s child, you may have a similar memory. Remember how we used to look things up in encyclopedias? Maybe your parents had a set at home, they were probably a few years out of date, so they weren’t your go-to source on things like Russian states. If you were curious about something, you waited until your next library trip. You may have gone to the public library with your parents – when your mom lets you loose and tells you to meet her back at the checkout counter in 30 minutes. Or, you had to wait until your classroom’s weekly day with a one-hour period at the library to work on your school projects and maybe have time for your side fun projects like learning about flowers or checking out a Nancy Drew book (this 80s memory is from a girl OK?).
The library didn’t make it easy to get information. You had to know the language of the library – the Dewey Decimal system. Don’t be a turd and go to the librarian to ask them to do the work, they’d send you over to the card catalog anyway. The typed and handwritten guide to the library, but only if you knew how to use it. Don’t ask me to remember THAT for you right now, I have long forgotten about the DD System!
It is pretty cool now to have a tool like Google, or your preferred search engine, to scan the entire internet for you when you want to know something. I find that when I learn something using Google, Wikipedia, or other internet source, the knowledge is quickly gained and not usually retained. My old, rusty, encyclopedia knowledge remains. I believe everyone is a kinetic learner – some combo of auditory, visual and hands-on. The new way of learning through the internet only taps one of those means of learning, so the info isn’t easily retained without making the knowledge live beyond the screen.
Elementary schools are getting iPads. Entire college courses are done online. I know I’m old-school because I feel that something is lacking. I can tell there are gaps because I’ve got work experience with the younger generation. Wikipedia tells me I’m a Millennial just like them, but within this Generation Y, there’s us 80s-born adults, the 90s-born “kids” and the 00s-born “babies.” At any given workplace we have all of the above plus the baby boomer generation working together. This mix is great when there’s free-flowing communication and lessons are shared among the generations. I learned so much from seasoned superintendents about construction processes, equipment and planning. I was able to teach some of them how to use type quicker, use Xcel formulas, and which apps were best for work and fun. When the generations don’t work together, the workplace is awkward and doesn’t run as efficiently. As the 70s and 80s children are taking over the management and executive positions, I see the strengths of each generation culled out more meaningfully.
In social situations, we have the “greatest” generation mixed in, evidenced by your grandma being on Facebook. I’ve seen this only as a positive and a way to keep family history alive and shared. I’ve sent photos of old recipes to cousins, scanned photos from the 1940s and older to share and duplicate, and of course FaceTime and Skype have become verbs in my family.
Boxing Day is a day that in countries outside of the US, the tradespeople and other service folks are given gifts from their bosses to thank them for their work throughout the year. It also means after-Christmas day sales. That’s my tradition, so I’ll be out shopping today, stocking up on holiday items for next year when my Generation Z baby turns 2.