Guest post: How dying technology can provide a teaching moment for our children.


I’m delighted to present a guest post from Caleb Wilde, of CONFESSIONS OF A FUNERAL DIRECTOR fame.  I only recently discovered Caleb’s thoughtful and entertaining writings, and I confess, I became an instant fan. Follow him on Twitter and check out his blog. This post is reprinted in it’s entirety with permission.

How Dying Technology Can Provide a Teaching Moment for Our Children

As we’re moving away from an agrarian culture, parents and children alike are becoming more and more unfamiliar with death.  We no longer live with our grandparents and watch as they go through the last phases of life.  We no longer have numerous animals that can provide that vital teaching moment for children about the circle of life.

And — alas — despite the internet rumblings, there is no such thing as a “Funeral Director LEGO play set.

Since few of us live on farms and few of us live in the company of multiple generations, we need new teaching moments where we can teach our children about the circle of life.


1.)  The death of VHS for DVD, or DVD for Blue-Ray: “Son, it’s time to recycle the VCR.  The plastic and metal will go back to their makers and will be formed into something new and better.”

2.)  The death of an old computer: “It was struggling … it was just for the best.  It could barely even process a word document.  It was time for it to go to a better place, where it will find rest from it’s struggles.

3.)  If You Use the Old Parts from the Dead Computer: “Now sometimes when people die, they decide to give their good parts to people who can uses them.  Just like this Dead Computer donated it’s DVD drive to our new computer, so some people like to donate their organs — like their eyes, heart, kidney and skin — to other people who can uses them.”

4.)  Upgrading a TV: “Do you see how the old TV is replaced by the new TV?  When we die we’ll turn in our old rabbit ears body and we’ll get a clearer view and more channels because we’re be plugged into a better network!”

5.)  Changing Gaming Systems: “Son, remember how hard it was to get rid of the PS2?  And how difficult it was to accept the NEW games of the PS3 … how unfamiliar it was?  But now, what do you like better: the PS2 or the PS3?  See how that works.  We get used to this world and we might be scared of the next world, but once we get to the new world we’ll never want to go back!”

6.)  Cell phones trade-ins: “Can you see ‘the network’?  No, but you know it’s there!  Do you understand ‘the network?’  No, but you believe it exists.  You’re like a cell phone that’s connected.  You might not know how, but someday your outer shell will die, but your soul … just like your SIM card … is still living and connected and will get a new better body!”

7.) Upgrading to a new Windows Platform: “Son, God is not like Microsoft.  Microsoft tried to tell us that the new ‘Vista’ was the best yet, but it sucked.  When God gives us a new body, it will actually work better than the one we have now.  And, when God says, ‘To the Cloud’ it too will have a whole different meaning.”  Which causes me to think, “Maybe I should switch to Mac so that I have better tech analogies for my children … hmmm”

There are some of my “teaching movements” through dead tech examples … you have any?

(Note from Lissanne: for more info on dead media, google Bruce Sterling).

2 responses to “Guest post: How dying technology can provide a teaching moment for our children.

  1. I really like this – there are some wonderful conversation starters for adults and kids alike! Have forwarded the link to my brother who is a some-time RE instructor in a rural area.You can add this article to the comment in the Nanna Tips article about not carrying ill-feeling backwards, just being able to go forward and you’ll come up with some solid Life Tips. (I hope this reads well and has no typos. I can’t see the last few lines of the comment box so don’t really know what I’m typing!) e,

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