The YouTube Generation

My 8-year-old granddaughter was watching me as I worked on the telescope that I had bought and shipped to her house, ostensibly to use as a way to lure my grandson away from his game console. I was at their home and my grandchildren were at day camp when the telescope arrived. The instructions said that the assembly of the scope would take 30 minutes, so I put off the task until the kids came home. The assembly lie trapped me into two hours of misery, and now Imani was on the balcony with me, watching as I tried to focus the scope. “We can probably find out how to do it on YouTube,” she offered. I looked askance at her and I must admit to some ungenerous thoughts. I gave her the name of the scope. “Are you writing this down,” I murmured as she left the balcony, trying to keep the adult sneer out of my voice. She returned in minutes, a video of the very model of telescope I had wrestled with for hours, cued up on her laptop.
Imani loves to cook with her father, and to watch videos of cooking shows. When she was slightly younger, she would play with kinetic sand and her toy kitchenware, making up recipes and placing the pretend food into a pretend oven. I would watch her as she measured an amount of sand into a cup and level the sand with a plastic knife, all the while speaking to an (unseen) audience, giving them the steps being taken. Her parents told me that she was preparing her YouTube cooking video. When I told my daughter that Imani had schooled me on the subject of how to assemble a telescope, she laughed. “Bing (her beau) and his friends changed out the radiator in his truck while watching a video on how to do it.” Lisa watches cooking videos with her daughter and my grandson watches videos such as “all-time greatest (basketball) dunks.”
A few years ago, my youngest daughter consulted with YouTube to help me decide what kind of repair to make to my car. The compressor had frozen and snapped the belts and she was trying to guide me in the decision to replace the compressor or . . . do something else car/mechanical. (Lauren is a better automobile mechanic than I can ever hope to be.) The video helped me to decide to listen to her advice. My son, when he decided to become the best pool player in the world, would show me videos of pool players and pool teachers. He apparently spent some quality time with the videos because he went from “novice” to “very good” in a very short time. I was grousing to a visitor about my granddaughter shaming me, exclaiming, “I hate YouTube.” Then I asked the man if he knew where to get a battery for my handheld rechargeable vacuum, and he suggested that I Google it. I did, and found that it cannot be replaced but when I did the same for another electronic device, I found a 4-minute video on how to disassemble and reassemble that device. Apparently, everything on earth has an online video explaining how it works, or why it doesn’t and how to fix it.
Considering the humbling experience of having my granddaughter school me on YouTube videos, I’m going to reconsider my misguided approach to things like assembling equipment. No more reading manuals for me, because I’m going online to find a video and become a bonafide member of the YouTube generation.
That’s what we do, now.