Cheney Free Press -


By Luella Dow

Children become teachers in computer age

Of Cabbages and Kings


How did we get this way? We’ve spent many hours of our lives telling other people what to do. And now, sitting before this instrument, this monster that has no pity, we are frustrated and lost.

It is called a computer. “A programmable electronic device designed for performing prescribed operations on data at high speed,” says the description. You can call it that if you like. However, I have called it many other things and had to reach for a glass of water to cool my tongue.

Some of us have completed a college education, become a leader in business, and smiled at the success we’ve achieved. Then, one day the monster (slang for computer) brings us to the brink of despondency. Is there a way out? What can we do?

Listen to a story from my friend, Connie Schroeder. “I took a class in computers in Spokane. My training computer wouldn’t work, so the kind businessman I sat beside let me study with him. I noticed that he seemed to know a lot more about computers than I did. “Have you had some training already?” I asked him. “Oh, yes,” he said. “I’m in a corporation, and our boss hired some big guns to come in and teach us.” I was impressed. “That was nice. Who were they?” The man said, “The fifth- and sixth-graders in an elementary school across town.”

Connie’s story ended there just before I would have fallen out of my chair. An old Biblical expression came to mind, “A little child shall lead them.” I began to notice a lot of people had grandchildren visiting their homes. Others were offering cookies to their young neighbors. What was I waiting for? Well, there’s a catch to a lot of things. Other people are as busy as we are for one. Two, a teenager can sit down at your computer, click, click a couple of things, say, “All done, bye, grandma” and be out of the door before you have the chance to say, “Hey, wait a minute. How did you do that?”

The worst catch comes from the millionaire- billionaire--who decides it’s time to ruffle some feathers. You are comfortably familiar with the last new way of doing things and the man who really knows how to work with a computer, says, “You have to learn something new. The old way is obsolete.” Old way? Let me tell you, folks, the old way was child’s play in comparison. Even my computer doesn’t like it! I mumbled how nice it would be to use a typewriter again. My granddaughter said, “Grandma! That’s 1940 stuff!” Excuse me for a minute. I need another glass of water to cool my tongue.

Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at


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