By Bonnie Hutchenson
Grandmothers go digital
Grandmothers go digital
This week, an internet provider switched my email to servers which I do not wish to be on. I do not like how my emails look on the screen. Plus, I can’t find my contacts.
One choice is to have my email controlled by a multi-national mega-corporation about whom I do not have good feelings in regard to privacy and security. My other choice is to change servers, which would mean changing my email address and risk losing contact with many people I like. I dislike having to choose the “least awful” option, as opposed to having a “best” option.
In the same week, I’ve been trying to figure out a new online appointment booking system. I’m having trouble finding my way around the site. I’m having even more trouble understanding the instructions. Let’s just say it has not gone well–at least not yet.
***I have enough experience learning other new things to believe that eventually I will figure out these technologies. I’ll even be grateful for the automated systems. In the meantime, my unfortunate teeth have been subjected to a fair bit of gnashing.
This week, I also had a dental appointment. The dentist observed that I appeared to be an “aggressive” tooth brusher. Apparently, this is not a good thing. I was going to tell him about gnashing my teeth because my internet provider forced its email customers to be controlled. I couldn’t tell him, though. It was too hard to talk, what with my mouth being propped open and all.
***In principle, I’m in favour of serenity about things I cannot control. Unfortunately, there are parts of my brain that have not mastered serenity. At least I’m aware of my inconsistency. My mom once said, “If you want to know what you’ll be like when you’re seventy, think what you were like when you were thirty. That’s what you’ll be like when you’re seventy, only more so.”
Sigh. Here I am, deeply into my seventies. I was hoping for maturity. With all my tooth-gnashing this week, I’ve been forced to realize something. I’ll have to settle for awareness of immaturity, at least when trying to learn new technologies.
***In that context, my heart was warmed by a story in the Edmonton Journal about a group of Edmonton area grandmothers (and grand-others who don’t have grandchildren). They are mastering technical skills in support of grandmothers in Africa.
For the past few years, the Edmonton GANG (Grandmothers of Alberta for a New Generation) and the East Side Grannies of Sherwood Park have put on an annual Makers and Shakers Market craft sale.
Both groups are members of the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign. The Foundation supports grandmothers in Africa caring for their grandchildren whose parents have died of AIDS. The GANG, since it began in 2006, has raised more than $1 million. A major fundraiser has been their annual craft sale. When this year’s sale had to be cancelled because of COVID-19, the members decided they would take on the challenge of learning how to run an online store.
The group was able to use some federal grant money to pay for training videos on how to set up and run an online store. It was a steep learning curve. How do you describe each product? How do you load the photos? How do customers order? How do they pay?
One of the group’s 86-year-old members spent hours on the computer figuring out how to fill out the form to describe her handmade toys. Then she had to upload the photos. She said it was worth the time it took, teaching herself how to do it. It was worth it to support the grandmothers in Africa who’ve stepped up to raise their grandchildren while grieving the deaths of their adult daughters and sons. Maybe we can do anything–even learn frustrating complicated new technologies–if we have a good enough reason.
***I’d love to hear from you! If you have comments about this column or suggestions for future topics, send a note to Bonnie@BonnieHutchinson.com. I’ll happily reply within one business day.