One hopes for letters like this:
Sherman, I am doing precisely what you talk about in the subject article. It is one of the
most rewarding volunteer activities I have ever done, tho I must admit it does get a bit tedious at
times after nearly four years. I teach a basic computer course to seniors in the local senior center
in the form of a four week course of one-and-a-half hours on Wednesdays. The response is ongoing, even
after this long. The whole story is too long but if you are interested, let me know.
Several things catch my eye here. First, Jim finds it rewarding, but is realistic about the necessity
to be patient because volunteering can be tedious, like after you have told someone for the fifth
time that seeing an e-mail in a preview window is not the same as opening the letter. The other
thing that is intriguing is the longevity of the offering. This was not a once-off event. Jim
doesn’t say how many seniors attended or whether any were repeat students, but still this is quite
I did let him know, and maybe in the future we will have an in-depth article about his efforts.
But one need not go the effort of organizing and running a class. Another reader told me a sad,
but usual story of ageism and the frustration and humiliation that it entails. So she finally gave in and
applied for her social security. In addition to her hobbies, she says: “Now I find myself providing
illustrated basic computer help files to folks on three AV Lists and a handful outside of the AV
Circles. Not only are many elder citizens computer challenged, but also, surprisingly, folks even
in their 30s. So… My goal is to provide help files for them that are written in plain ol’ English
with lots of illustrations. Thank goodness for SnagIt.” That is not the end of the letter.
She also shares a good piece of philosophy: “While I have been using one sort of computer or
another since the late ’80s, I am finding out that, as I become older, I become even more curious
about computing. Many folks refer to me as one who is becoming or already am a geekette.
“NOT!” However, I know that we are NEVER too old to learn something new, or how to do
something more proficiently… sorry to be so long winded. I am curious about everything.
Many, many years ago, a gentleman in his 80s provided me with some information that helped
me understand why he still was so youthful. His good counsel: ‘Seek every day to learn
something new, regardless of how insignificant it may seem. Our minds and our capacity for
learning are never tapped out.’”
That does not sound pithy to me. It sounds like a good approach to life.