Gracious how the world has changed in the last twenty-five years. My daddy would never believe it.
The other night I was traveling down the highway, just enjoying the journey, not in too much of a hurry to get to my destination. But I was hungry. I didn't really know where I was; I mean I knew I was between here and there and would soon arrive at there if I remained on this particular highway. But I didn't know where I was in terms of relieving the hunger pangs now wrestling in my stomach. No problem in this day and age.
I pulled out my smart phone, held the menu button down then said aloud, “Food.” Within a few seconds the phone spoke to me, “I found fifteen restaurants; thirteen of them are fairly close to you.” Glancing down at the phone, I touched the name of one of those restaurants. A map to the establishment appeared on the screen. So in this season I'm giving thanks I can always know how to get where I need to be.
Speaking of that phone, I called my grandson in Connecticut the other evening. He's a few months short of being five. After speaking to my son for a few moments he then called the grandchild, informing him I was on the phone. The grandson took the phone, looked at the screen and said, “He must have hung up.” Most of the time when I talk with him and his brother we do it via a video call. When he didn't see my face he assumed I wasn't there any longer. I'm giving thanks today that my grandchildren, even when we live a thousand miles apart, still know what I look like.
I'm thankful today the rising generation is not wasting their lives away on video games. They may be playing them non-stop, but they're not wasting their lives. Ever heard of Adrien Treville? He, a university professor, was frustrated at the slow place of solving some of the mysteries of AIDS and HIV. The university computers had been working on the problem for years with no positive results. He put the problem online in a video game format. Within days 300,000 kids were working on the mystery. It has something to do with the way protein molecules are folded. One of the top players was a ninth grader named Michael Tate. He and other players solved the molecule mystery within three weeks. Look at the power of this technology, not just a few scientists working on the problem but hundreds of thousands of kids.
I'm thankful for this age where, wearable, external robotic skeletons are making it possible for paraplegics to walk, where we are finding ways to control machines with our minds, and where I can watch, live, my grand kids in another city or state perform in their dance recital.
And I'm so very thankful it will be the ethics and values my generation teaches that will allow them to use this new technology for the common good and the betterment of all humankind.