Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Avid interest in politics, though not party based. Deep into senior interests. Teach several computer classes at our local senior center. Teach several classes in building fishing rods at our outdoor campus. Top 5 interests? Wife, grandkids, fishing, fishing, fishing. Intense reader, mostly fiction. Enjoy writing

Friday, October 28, 2005

A poster in a fast food eatery

A Burger King is the last place you’d expect to find a memorable phase that really struck home. I did. I took my wife’s seven-year old grandson for his favorite meal, a king fry and a glass of water. Not my choice, but he loves it.

On the wall was a large poster with this phrase, “Unless you try to do something beyond what you’ve already mastered, you’ll never grow.” That struck home. It rang with the same flavor as my oft-said expression, “I can hardly wait to see what I’m like when I’m fully grown.”

But in both are the reasons why I am teaching computers to seniors, like myself. As I stare 80 in the face I could choose to sit back and do little except live day to day. Triple by-pass surgery over a year ago is a reminder that the human condition is fragile at best. Instead, I chose a whole new career, teaching computers. Most of what I know about computers is self-taught through the trial and error method. When I joined our local senior center, I agreed to coach computer classes. That led to reading the manuals for each of the classes taught. When asked, I said I would teach a class. But the revelation was not my teaching, but those in my class.

In my first class the youngster was 67, and the oldster a bright eyed 92-year old. Before I started, I asked each of the 10 attendees why they were in a computer class, and what did they hope to learn? Several wanted to learn word processing in order to write their family history. Another had agreed to take over the newsletter at her church. Email was the number one reason for the class. They wanted to stay in touch with friends and families.

These seniors had mastered the art of living. They’d raised families, enjoyed the grand and great grand children. Their life’s work ranged from farming, to factories, from homemakers to attorneys. But one and all had a thirst to learn more. To grow. To acquire a skill that would extend their joy of living. And I enjoyed being a part of their growth, for I, too, grew with them