I love some of the things one can read on the internet. For instance, “You Can’t Believe Most of the Quotes You Read On the Internet” -Abraham Lincoln. There’s a lot of truth to that statement. And I guess the question that arises from all of this is when did the internet become the gold standard for the impartation of knowledge. I recognize that there is unprecedented access to information that dwarfs all of the libraries of the ancient world, but is this really what it is supposed to be about? I mean if you ask anyone to look up something or to try to define a concept in today’s world they immediately go to Google. And the craziest part of all of this…we rarely question the information handed to us on this electronic platter. On the contrary we all to often have become distrusting and cynical when it comes to people.
And this is scary for a lot of reasons. To begin with there really isn’t a great way to validate the information given to us by the internet. Credentials can be faked and people can even be credited with saying things they never said i.e. Abraham Lincoln above. Why would we value the message over the messenger? But this is really where the issue takes root. Because of online social communities and instant message interactions (this even extends into text messaging) we really have lost the presence of valuable relationship outside of the electronic super highway. Over and over again I have had students have an easier time expressing themselves to me online than in a room face to face.
And I know that this breakdown of relationship between my generation and the younger has it’s negative implications, but the relationships I fear that we are losing the most is our reverence for the older generations and the value or lack thereof placed upon their wisdom. I think it would be safe to say that most of the generation over sixty (I don’t want to generalize too much) most often feel labels like irrelevant, out-dated or technologically challenged becoming their monicker instead of wise or learned. But the Bible has something to say on this. Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.” Gray hair is attained in walking rightly through life. I even remember some of the older members in my family blaming the gray hairs on the younger ones in our family in a joking fashion. And yet in our day and age this gray hair has become a curse instead of a crown.
The questions raised in my mind sound a bit like this….what lessons are we doomed to repeat when we don’t listen to those who have come before? What value are we placing on life experience and life in general when we ignore those who have lived longer than us? When did youth’s adaptation to information medium begin to outweigh the wisdom of those who lived said information and medium development? And lastly, what happens to grandpa’s stories and grandma’s heritage when we have placed them both on the shelf?
May we be so bold as to begin to value grandpa over Google once again and assign to life true value as it is lived by those who have come before.