On Thursday evening, we received a request to FaceTime with Chris, Ali, and Abi. It was fun and the little girls were entertaining . . . and they both were fully aware that they were the center of attention and they responded as they should!
That has caused me to think about the changes which have occurred in the world in just recent years. There have been amazing changes since my grandfather was a boy . . . and here are just a few I have thought about:
TRAVEL: I can drive to the ranch in six (6) hours (well, if Sandy isn’t along). I spend that six hours in air conditioned comfort listening to XM Radio, constantly being entertained with a Bose surround-sound system, or keeping abreast of current events with a number of 24-hour-per day news networks available. I also have a cell phone close at hand to stay in communication. I also have On Star just the push-of-a-button away. A hundred years ago, my grandfather would have been on a serious and dangerous journey of perhaps a month by horse-drawn wagon, or 10 to 12 days by Model T. That trip would have involved nights sleeping on the ground, facing any number of challenges, threats, and struggles. Of course, he would have had no conveniences on his trip, plus very little means of communication with the world or family that were not traveling with him. Even further, air travel is easily accessible and affordable today and cuts the travel time down to about two hours.
Sandy, Dorothy, and I are planning to buy a nice, comfortable motor home and drive up to Alaska, tour the State, and return home. All through the trip, we will have GPS, iPads, and laptop computers along to verify weather conditions, area attractions, route planning, and to gather all sorts of data and information.
Such a round-trip adventure for my grandfather would have been almost impossible, and at best would have been something like a 20-year process, filled with great challenges and dangers.
TECHNOLOGY: I am not even sure where to begin about this constantly changing area. A hundred years ago, my grandfather didn’t even have access to television, and he lived in a world that was rather small and simple (at least what they knew about it). My family has been told that he came from a family of 13 children and as they all left home in Tennessee and wandered away, they lost all contact with each other for the remainder of their lives. The truth is today, that one, for all intents and purposes, would have to plan and scheme well to simply disappear . . . if that was what he wanted to do. There are so many ways to track, locate, and identify a person today. Simply getting a job requires using a Social Security number and with today’s technical capabilities, false SSN’s entered into the system are identified quickly.
While my grandfather lived in a house without running water, bathtub, or shower; indoor plumbing or electricity; the vast majority of homes have all of those things, plus at least one computer and one television. Almost everyone has a cell phone (drive down the street and look . . . even the yard man has a cell phone). The internet is free and can be accessed at local places such as the public library and Dairy Queen. We live in an era of internet, emails, faxes, text messages, cell phones, and 24-hour-a-day television.
KNOWLEDGE: What my grandfather and his generation knew about the world was actually quite limited, and full of error and superstition. Medical knowledge was extremely limited and medical care was largely unavailable to poor people in rural areas. In fact, it was in 1948 that the World Health Agency was formed as an agency of the United Nations, and since then changes have taken form.
Today, there seems no limit to knowledge. Almost anything or any subject can simply be googled and instant information is at hand! The culture has moved a long ways from the Three R’s of my grandfather’s day. Medical advances are mind-boggling and there are few parts of the human body that are not being replaced . . . almost on demand today. I spent a day in the surgical waiting room of the University of Pittsburg’s amazing hospital last year and could not believe all of the things folks talked about their relatives were having done. I mean things I had never even known to be possible. It seems there is no limit to what can be done with hearts, organs, and joints.
COMFORTS: The automobiles we drive and the homes we reside in are light years beyond anything my grandfather ever experienced. Most folks today have HVAC systems that make the home more comfortable, modern electrical service, hot and cold running water, indoor plumbing, insulation, and modern kitchens for keeping and preparing meals. The poorest of Americans today live at a level that is well above the level at which middle-class Americans lived with when my grandfather was my age.
Today, we are told that 190 million FaceBook users are mobile only . . . with 30% of FB’s ad revenue coming from mobile use. My grandfather never heard of FaceBook.
LinkedIn has two new members join every second. My grandfather also never heard of LinkedIn, nor would he have had need of it.
However, in spite of all of the great advances over the past 100 years, there are some things that have not changed at all. It Seems to me . . . that in spite of such great changes and enlightenment . . . The world is still a sinful place and people continue to be plagued by the stains, pains, and chains of sin;
- That children still need loving parents and a guiding hand;
- That churches still have a critically important mission;
- That man may now be able to walk on the moon, but he still struggles with being able to walk in honor and integrity;
- That the Statesmen of yesterday have been replaced by cheap, vulgar politicians today;
- That the world and living conditions are getting better, but man’s plight, basic nature, and inclinations have not changed much as evidenced by reports that crime abounds and society cannot build prisons fast enough . . . our prisons are full and running over;
- That God is in control and everything is playing out pretty much as it is supposed to play out, and none of it is a surprise for God; and
- There is still a day out there . . . somewhere in the future, when the lion will lie down beside the lamb . . . and when that occurs, things will really change!