I Owe My Dad an Apology   2 comments

Until I was eight, my dad was a pilot in the Air Force. At the time, it may not have clicked with me, but now I admire his discipline. His learning style was what I imagine to be that of many military aviators: you read the manual, cover to cover, before even sitting in the aircraft you are to fly. When he left the service, he took a similar approach in his new career: Read. Learn. Understand. Do. This is one of those things I think that contributed to his success in his field.

On the other hand, my learning style was more that of a hacker: alternating reviewing documentation with hands on experience. Incrementally learning how something works, applying this knowledge, and expanding it as I went deeper into whatever I was interested in, be it a computer, a bicycle, or cats.

There may not be a right or wrong in this discussion–each has its strengths and weaknesses. I do admit that I really could stand a bit of his knack for sitting and reading something cover to cover before trying it. I think he saw that, for some things on the computer, you learned as much by tinkering as by reading.

There were also times when this difference caused frustration on the part of one or the other of us. When I was thirteen, we got our first computer, a Commodore 64. I had learned some BASIC at school, and felt I had a good view of the fundamentals. I was ready to hook up the beast. My dad, on the other hand, wanted to read the manual, cover to cover, before using it. He relented, at least, to hook it up after finishing the relevant chapter.

Still, I was eager to get at it. I lacked the patience to watch him read about the PRINT statement. He would read a bit, and I would try to stick my hands on the keyboard. Finally, he walked away frustrated. He didn’t get to really explore the computer, his way, until I went to bed. Sorry, Dad.

They say that grandchildren are a parent’s revenge. I like to think my dad got his the other day. When my mom was in on a visit, she had a game called Angry Birds on her iPad. Caitlin played it, and dug it, I had heard good things about it, so I got myself a copy. I gave my daughter a crack at it first.

Later, I sat down, ready to play. As soon as she heard the theme music, she was right next to me, trying to coach me. She asked to play my man on a few occasions, even remembering to ask me before doing so once or twice. After a while, I let her play, determining my best bet was to play after she went to bed.

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Posted 2010-10-14 by Mr. Guilt in amusing, computers, Family

2 responses to “I Owe My Dad an Apology

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  1. lol.

    I was an Airbrat too.. but I picked up the cover-to-cover tendency.

  2. Ah, I get that!! Mr is the “read ALL of the direction” and that usually takes forever. I am the type that tries to see if I can figure things out and then perhaps looking at the directions only when totally necessary.

    I have a difficult time waiting, especially when I know that I am often successful doing it my way. But, I try to let him have his way (sometimes) and read the directions.

    Have fun playing the game with your daughter!

    Freedom Smith

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