With our church group, my son recently went up to spend some time at the Riverton Family History library. I tagged along for a little bit and I had a good laugh when they taught me something I'd never supposed.
Suzanne Curley, the director of the Riverton library is on my UGA board. We are working together on the Saturday morning keynote address for the UGA fall conference in September (register at ugagenealogy.com). The title is, "The Cool Parts of Family History: Kids Having Fun." I tagged along with our youth group for a little bit to get some video for our presentation.
While I was there I got to watch my son and his best friend explore the internet sites they had just learned about. They were looking for more information on their families. My son's friend came up with some interesting discoveries that he was excited about. Look what his response was:
Now I don't know if you would have thought to record your findings that way, but I wouldn't have. And I don't know if this is the best idea on how to record your research,
but I'm sure the next one he comes up with will be something I never
would have thought of too. I found this picture to be a great symbol for what I have been learning about how to involve your teenagers. Let them go. Stand back and watch, and you will be amazed. They will teach us new ways to use the technology and accomplish more if we will just get out of their way and watch them figure out how to do it. When we come in and try to teach them up how to do it, they don't resonate with it. We have to let them be new and let them explore.
I keep reminding myself--they don't have to do it my way. As long as I don't squash their enthusiasm, they will be much more skilled at it when they are my age than I am now. They don't have to be perfect at it. They can be beginners.
And now I'm going to keep reminding myself--I have to get out of the way so that *I* can learn from *them* how to do it better and how to use technology.