the Good Dope Days

We all need to be reminded from time to time that if you are not part of the future then get out of the way.

I heard a grandmother talk about how she hated that her grandchildren did not communicate with her unless made to do so by their parents.  The grandmother wanted to turn back time to the good dope days where children were mindful.

The parents did their best to teach their children to be respectful of their elders and made the children call the grandparents once a week.  But making someone do something against their will breeds resentment.

And those weekly Sunday night phone calls were an awful experience for all.

The parents had to herd up the children, dial the phone and stand guard as the children took a turn saying “hello Grandma” and then cringe as they responded to their grandmother with “yes” “no” “I don’t know” with a teenage hint of resentment enunciated with each reply.

For a long time the grandmother resisted reflecting on her role in this situation.  Maybe it was pride or perhaps it was fear of becoming old and outdated that kept her so stubborn.

Then one day she was given a smartphone with a one month contract.   She was told like it or not a major part of her grandchildren’s lives is digital socialization.  And one of their major occupations is caring for, and socializing on a smartphone.

She was taught how to text and she dropped the stubborn negative thoughts of her grandchildren and began to communicate with them in this new form.

The grandchildren loved the 160 character messages from their grandmother.  And no longer a chore assigned by their parents, they developed a digitally meaningful and gratifying relationship.

What was most rewarding, the parents no longer needed to force the children to call their grandmother, they spontaneously called her.

If she was able to reflect on the problem the grandmother might have seen her grandchildren are living a world apart from her good dope days. And what the grandmother needed was knowledge of the rules and techniques needed to communicate with these digitized grandchildren in their LED world.

Blending Occupational Therapy with Digital Parenting

Over fifteen years ago (January 2001) I started to write down some of the things I learned from my experiences as an Occupational Therapist. I initially planned to make a clearinghouse site for parents and limit it to issues related to Sensory Integration.

Later, as a parent of three children, and going through a divorce, I put this plan on hold. There was little time to write outside of that required for work and the many things to do as a parent.  About all I could do was bookmark websites helpful to me both professionally and personally.  I then added handwritten notes to myself for specific issues that arose.  I planned, without a timeline, to return to this information at a future time and share it somehow.

Eight years ago, I met a wonderful person, a Peruvian transplanted to Northern New Mexico, and remarried.  We both came into the relationship with children from prior marriages.  We went about blending together a new family, an adventure that continues daily. With loving encouragement, I began to make time for my dreams and recommitted to sharing occupational therapy digitally.