We’ve all heard the word “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks.” But what about show dogs? What about dogs whose livelihoods are dependent on learning new tricks? Those dogs are contradictions to that rule. My entire generation is full of show dogs. Not in the sense that we are all entertainers, but in the sense that we are hardwired to learn new things.
We are exceptions to the rule. No. I take that back. We are the new rule.
I was born in 1987. I went to elementary school and, at the beginning, though I had the most basic Macintosh computers to toy with, I learned everything, from arithmetic to writing, in the traditional fashion. As I progressed to middle school, computers were intertwined in my learning process and I can compute the answer with or without a Macintosh or IBM.
Those born between the mid-1980s and early-1990s were born right on time to do it all. We are the dogs who always had to learn new tricks because the world was always changing. It is hard for the old dogs to understand why we always want to learn those new tricks. It is equally difficult for younger dogs to understand why we want them to calm down and look at traditional ways of doing things to determine what’s the most sensible.
I say that to say this: Going forward, generations need to learn it both ways. We need to appreciate the processes of our elders, the processes with the sharpened pencils and college-ruled notebooks and the hardback books. And, at a certain time, it is necessary to learn the processes that are guided by modern technology. At the end of the day, learning new tricks are the things we do. From books to tablets, abacuses to TI-84s, we must be prepared to always learn any and everything in any way from now on.
All dogs can learn all tricks if they want to. The question is, do you want to?