When I was very young, my brother, younger sister and I spent a great deal of time gathered on the floor to listen to the huge console radio because no one had a television. When we bought our first television, we had a choice between an eight-inch screen and a twelve-inch. My mother feared the twelve-inch might be too large. All programs were in black and white and we had only one channel. Our favorite program was Kukla, Fran, and Ollie in which several hand puppets—Ollie was a dragon–chatted with Fran Allison. Programming didn’t run all day. At midnight or earlier, the National Anthem played after which a test pattern came on and stayed on the screen until programs started the next day.
My greatest disappointment was the programming. I’d thought when we turned on the television, our favorite radio shows would come on: The Lone Ranger and Jack Armstrong, All-American Boy. But they didn’t. All we got was Fran Emerson and, as much as I loved them, Kukla, Fran and Ollie was no Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.
What did I learn?
Technology doesn’t do everything we think or hope it will. As exciting as it is, technology does not always change the world for the better. Texting, for example, has brought only the ability to communication with the person sitting next to you and causes automobile accidents. Although cell phones take pictures and, with the proper apps, do lots of other stuff, we have not learned to communicate better and more deeply and meaningfully with each other. Thanks to social media, we get instant reports on uprisings in Egypt and slaughters in the Syria, but has that instant access made response to emergencies faster? We can talk to people on the other side of the world, but have we learned to live in peace with our neighbors—or those people on the other side of the world?
When we instantly hear that people are starving, do we respond more quickly?
But the limitations of technology only highlight the limitations of those of us who use it. Technology is only a tool, an amusing toy that doesn’t replace a caring heart.