I’ve spent the morning with Son racing around getting his A level results verified for University. He’s applying to university in Sydney, spurred on by the thought of a great reputation, excellent course, and no doubt sunshine, women and beer.
I’m right behind him, thinking that it’s the perfect solution to the university problem, and even more so because it will cost him exactly half the amount of money the same university education will cost him here in the UK. It’s all very well having a student debt of £50000 when you intend to earn and be able to pay it off in pound stirling! The moment you move back home, Down Under, that magically becomes an $100k debt! And that’s a hell of a lot for an 18 year old.
So I played taxi as I drove him around getting the documents signed and then returning him to home base so he could swipe one of my envelopes from the business stash I keep on my desk.
It hadn’t occurred to me that he would require any more assistance, so I fired up the laptop and started writing blog posts and checking Twitter streams. The first sign of trouble came quickly.
“Is this right?” he asked as he scrawled the address in the top left hand corner of the envelope. I tried to ignore the fact that the letters looked a little like a ransom note, written by a half-pissed spider.
Resisting the urge to make him write it again. He’s 18. A young man. He doesn’t need my help! He even does his own washing.
“Arrrrgh,” he muttered loudly and screwed up the envelope. Cock-up. Oh well, there’s another twenty envelopes in the packet.
He checked and double-checked the papers, and then with me.
“Is this right Mum?”
“What does it say on the form?” I prompted.
Nodding he reread the instructions, checked them against his masterpiece, sealed the envelope and was gone up to the post office to send it.
He returned about an hour later with lunch and a triumphant smile, this young man who was born in 1994, and has spent almost his entire life online.
“Well that’s the first time I’ve posted a letter,” he announced.
Dumbstruck, I couldn’t reply.
Should we add writing and posting letters to the list of everyday skills this online generation no longer need to master? What other skills are likely to become obsolete by the time the next generation has grown up?