A Teachable Moment

If you are feeling sad over the passing of Steve Jobs – as are most of us are just now – and you have kids old enough to wonder why, maybe this is what we like to call in the parenting trade,  a “teachable moment?”

Technology might drive you crazy. You might long for a time before technology. You might be frustrated by how much time your kids spend with their minds in the “virtual” world rather than the “real” one. But maybe this is a good time to take a step back and look at this moment as future historians will see it. I love to shock my kids by telling them there was no Internet when I was a kid. (At least not as we use it now. The World Wide Web was created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990.)

Try telling them that Steve Jobs was one of the first people to see why anyone like us would even want a personal computer. Yep. Most everyone else pretty much assumed you and I wouldn’t care. But for some smart, daring people — Steve Jobs for one — things might have gone a very different way.

In fact, maybe this weekend is a good time for a (virtual) trip to the Computer History Museum? The museum is located – of course – in Mountain View, California. But you can visit the online at ComputerHistory.org. Check out the Revolution exhibit, which will help you put Steve Jobs, the cell phone your teen is texting on, her PlayStation, and the abacus in perspective as it takes you on a visual tour of 2000 years of computing.