A Hard Lesson Learned

Blacksmith at Work - Colonial Williamsburg
There is no substitute for life experience but having it doesn’t always prevent you from enjoying a hard lesson learned.

Ask my kids and they’ll tell you they both got to experience that hard lesson but don’t expect them to smile and talk about the value in the lesson they learned yet.

I am ok with their not being enlightened yet because they are only kids and because even at my soon to be approaching middle aged moment of life experience it would bother me too.

What Happened?

Thursday night my son decided to upgrade his iPhone but didn’t think to back up his phone before he did it.

Had he talked to me about it I would have told him I had read about numerous issues other users had when upgrading to iOS 8 and asked him about the backup but he didn’t ask so I couldn’t tell.

I wasn’t upset with him because he didn’t ask because I am not raising him to look to his parents to take care of every little thing. We want him to be his own man and to be self sufficient and to learn when to ask for help.

Things don’t always work out as expected or as wanted and the net effect of his not backing up turned into a great teaching moment.

That is because some bug with iOS 8 grabbed his phone and turned it into a brick.  When he came to me asking for help I told him I could fix it but explained I would have to restore it to the factory settings.

He didn’t like that idea very much but at 10 PM on a Thursday night his choices were limited. I took the phone and used Old Doc Google to see if there were any alternatives but didn’t find any so I wiped it clean and did my best to recover a few items I knew I had.

We talked about it the next day and I told my kid the digital native that being a part of Generation X has its advantages not the least of which is we have a different sort of appreciation for when smart phones were dumb.

I won’t lie and say he automatically nodded his head in agreement because he didn’t but I made a point to share some of my frustration and experiences with technology so now when I tell him sometimes technology makes us dumberer he understands.

A Question of Honesty

My daughter now has her own negative experience with electronics. She made the mistake of taking her iPod to Hebrew school with her and it disappeared.

I can’t tell you how many times we have advised against doing so. Can’t tell you how often I have checked with her before she left because she is only 10 going on 30 but this time it didn’t happen.

This time she didn’t think to take it out or forgot to take it out of her pocket and so it ended up at school with her. She realized she had it early on and was conscious of it but at some point it slipped out of her pocket and ended up somewhere.

Forty minutes of searching didn’t lead to it being discovered so she left messages with the security and custodial staffs about it and now it turns into a question of honesty.

I am confident that someone picked it up and took it. Maybe it fell out in class and her teacher locked it up, I don’t know. We’ll have to see what happens.

We told her if she has to replace it she will do so out of her own money. Part of me feels badly about this because I understand it was an accident and it is clear that she is upset.

But I won’t be the parent that automatically replaces items just to keep my kid from crying. It is a hard lesson learned but she’ll figure it out.

One Last Comment

My son has is participating in a couple of group projects for school. His phone has played a key role in his ability to do as has the computer.

I don’t know what families who don’t have access to electronics do because so much work comes through electronics, Google Docs, Hangouts,Skype and so much more are being used.

My daughter doesn’t make many phone calls but she Facetimes and texts with her friends, especially those who she no longer goes to school with.

Could the kids live without technology?

Of course they can, we did and so can they but should I fight society to make that happen?

My answer is no in large part because we have reached a moment where we are stuck between the  hammer and anvil of modernity.

Technology and electronics are a part of everything and while I work to teach the kids how to do things so they don’t have to rely upon tech I am not going to hamstring their ability to get along by not allowing them to have it.

The hard part is finding the right balance and sometimes that leads to a hard lesson learned.

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  1. Larry November 16, 2014 at 6:02 am

    Interesting bits here. I like/respect your view on parenting. I agree with many of them.
    In terms of technology, it is what it is. What are you going to do? This is how society is going. It’s not the worst part – by any stretch – of modernity.

    • Josh November 16, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Yep, technology is not going to disappear and if it did I would be disappointed so I just roll with it the best I can. Probably no different from most parents.

  2. Terungwa Akaahan October 12, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Hello Joshua,

    Deliberately I’ve refused to move to iOS 8. My reason is simple: when I moved to 7, it was the worst upgrade ever! I guess I’ll bid my time and see if some nasty bugs are reported and fixed before taking the plunge!

    Your son and daughter are like all children (at least I was like that too) – a little carefree, careless and with the dad and mom are around airs. However, leaving them to face the consequences of their actions is perhaps the best way to groom them into nice young people who appreciate that every action has a consequence.

    However, be careful…some children resent this style and it produces undesireable consequences. Whenever you have to discipline them this way, let them fully understand why you are doing it and more importantly, what they can do to avert such in future.

    Do have a supercharged weekend, Joshua.


    • Josh October 12, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Hi Terungwa,

      I want them to be children for as long as possible but they will be kids who learn to be responsible and accountable for their actions.

  3. Adrienne October 7, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Hey Josh,

    Carolyn reported about the upgreads to IOS8 but for those who were having issues with it she also shared how you could download the lower version again. Luckily I don’t have the model that upgrades so this wasn’t an issue for me but if nothing else I’m sure your son learned his lesson.

    My parents were the same way. If we lost something and we wanted to replace it we had to spend out own money. I think it should be the same today, it’s called taking responsibility. Good job!

    I could live without technology even though my business is online. I would be forced to find something else to do of course but I could do that, no problem. I’m older than you so I did grow up when things were much simpler and I kind of wish we could go back to that time. Never going to happen though, oh well.


    • Josh October 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      @Adrienne:disqus Hi there, yeah you have a few years on me but my childhood and the beginning of my adult life was far more similar to yours than it will be to my kids. At 45 I spent more of my life without a cellphone than with.

      I used a typewriter straight into college.

      Anyway, while I don’t want to go back to not having tech there are moments where I wish things were simpler than they are now.

      Either way I am determined to teach my kids to be responsible and accountable for themselves.

  4. Jens-Petter Berget October 6, 2014 at 5:30 am

    I’ve asked myself many times if I could live without technology, and I probably could. I still remember how I lived without technology when I was young. And, I remember how much fun I was having. I’ve been thinking about using the Bullet Journal method as my project manager instead of the different digital ones.

    And, I can relate to the issue with upgrading to iOS 8. I did it without backing up as well (it worked fine).

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