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But it is not only them, it is also the stuff that goes on in the news. For instance, writing at the very end of 2018, we have in the last week or so been entertained by the news media with the tales of the goings on in the air around Gatwick Airport. Now it would appear to be so easy to make fun of the police who seem to have been changing their stories on a daily basis, but for the sake of anyone who should just be coming out of a coma and who have therefore missed these events, let me summarise them. Drones – little four or more propeller type machines - were reported in the vicinity of the airspace around Gatwick airport, resulting, at one point in the airport being closed to flights on safety grounds and thousands of would-be passengers being treated to a ‘sit-and-do-nothing’ holiday at the airport.

Now at the time of writing – and it may change between now and publishing – the truth of what actually happened is unclear but the one thing that is clear is that this is one of those examples of us living in a time of technological change (that I have referred to in previous articles) where we have new technology but we just haven’t thought fully enough about the implications of using it. Now I am told that there are rules and regulations about flying drones (such as not above 400 feet I believe) but having seen them on sale in Garden Centres (yes, we wrote about them a while back as well!)  just before Christmas, it is obvious that they are easily available to any parent and their child for they come easily within the price band that many parents use for buying presents at this time of the year. Now forgive me if I do a bit of stereotyping (and I confess I did not open one of the boxes to see if the regulations are there in large bold print) but even if the regulations are there, how many of these children from wherever are going to bother to read and follow them, and how many of them will realistically assess whether they are outside a prohibited zone such as the airspace above Southend Airport and the flight paths east and west? This is not being nasty but simply pointing out how difficult it is to impose safety into an area of technology that is available to all of us.

Now this subject of small drones is miniscule in comparison to another area of technology that has been with us for a decade and which is having massively negative effects on a large percentage of our population. I refer of course to the use of mobile phones and it has only been in the last year of so that a number of people-watchers have been daring to utter warnings and concerns about the way that the constant use of such technology is changing the way people relate to one another and, even more, how the younger generation are now making demands about their social networking ability within the work place. To short-circuit this subject and save me space, may I recommend you go to YouTube and put in a search for “Simon Sinek and Millennials” and then either workplace or just cell-phones. Here is a guy who really knows what he is talking about. There is a problem with our changing culture.  But here’s the point for this article: we have the technology but no one has dared to think in advance about its unrestricted usage and the effects that follow. Listen to Sinek and you will soon agree how antisocial and demeaning unlimited use of the cell-phone, constantly held in the palm of the hand or facing up on the desk or table in front of you, actually is.


How do we change this? Point one: research it so you know what you are talking about. Point two: employers, teachers, parents, and dare we say it, grandparents, need to be having conversations with the younger generation. Already there are good signs of action being taken. For example, the restaurant that has cell-phone free areas, the family that has cell-phone free days or meals together that are cell-phone free. Time to face addiction that is now being widely recognised, time to take steps to limit cell-phone presence inhibiting relationships. Simple? Addiction is never simple but remember this is not denying the many good uses of a cell-phone, it is simply limiting usage to enable relationships to develop and, even more, young people to develop. A tricky subject but if we have grand-children, one that affects us.

The final thread is not so much a case of coping with technology but coping with abundance, that is linked to Christmas. This arose as I watched one of my daughters-in-law sorting out the play room. Stay out the way, my wife cautioned, otherwise you might get thrown out! Being made of sterner stuff I went to observe this post-Christmas exercise and entered into a conversation about the difficulties of having too many toys and what do you do about it?

Saying stop buying so many presents for our offspring seems rather hopeless advice, because it challenges the strange outlook that many seem to have, that if I don’t buy so many presents it will be a sign that I don’t love my children – and anyway they have to keep up with all their friends!!!! So let’s not go down that path. Here are a couple of suggestions about conversations you might risk having with your children about their children.

1. Creating a caring perspective:  How about sitting down with the children every now and then and get them to recognise they have too many toys to really enjoy and talk about children’s wards in hospitals etc. that might appreciate a donation of some no-longer used but still serviceable toys. Or how about asking a local church or local social worker (via the local council) if they have children in care or families in temporary sheltered housing who might appreciate a morale boost from a box of toys.

2. Managing a ‘treasure chest’: When our kids were young, my wife, every now and then, quite surreptitiously, used to syphon off say a quarter of the toys that were not getting regular use and hide them away for six months, and then bring them out on a rainy day or when one of them was recovering from an illness, and they were always greeted with affection like a special treasure chest.

3. Find the things that had not been made and have a creative afternoon:  Have your children got making kits that have never been used? It is surprising how effective the words, “These have never been done so I was wondering about throwing them away,” are at provoking either a realisation that they have grown out of such things so yes, they can be given away, or how much they would like to have a fresh go at making the particular kit.  


Yes, it is certainly a world of change since those of us who might call ourselves ‘silver-surfers’ were kids. In fact is it almost an unrecognisable world but as much as there are many really good things about living today, there are also the problems to be worked through, which is why I have been rambling on about coping with drones to maintain safety, coping with excessive cell-phone use to try to hold onto relationship values, and coping with excess. Enough. Let’s conclude as we always do with some pertinent and less than pertinent quotes about these things.

We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.

Tom Waits

Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.


The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

"The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man, and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment."

Warren G. Bennis

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."

Albert Einstein

"The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."

Isaac Asimov

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