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What Ever Did We Do Before YouTube?

photo (9)The other day my daughter received a pair of Heelys  in the mail.

Tech savvy at 14, she’d ordered the sneaker/skates herself, using my ebay and paypal accounts. She shot me a text with the total.

The Heelys were a “necessity” technically. She is playing the role of Tinkerbell in a local community theater production of Peter Pan and in lieu of wires, the director decided that low lying fog/mist and black Heelys were a novel way to make the fairies “fly”.

Except Tinkerbell has never used Heelys before. She tried at one point, around age seven, and declared them impossible.

“Maybe your sister remembers how to do it?” I suggested. Her sister was a champion roller.

“I’m going to wipe out on stage!” she announced.

I felt her pain. Time is short. It’s go time. Sink or swim. There was only one solution.

“YouTube,” I said.

So she googled “How to use Heelys” and sure enough there were dozens of detailed how to videos on using Heelys. Two hours later she was doing laps around the kitchen Island.

Practically anything you want to do, has a video tutorial online. Honestly, if you can learn how to sneaker skate in two hours, what can’t you learn?

It got me to thinking, whatever did we do before YouTube? Is all this information a good thing or a bad thing.

Obvious pitfalls of bad info aside, there are certain things I miss about the good old days of not having instant access and answers to any question you can come up with. Namely:

Winging it:

Winging it was a strong suit of mine in my youth. I might not have done things the best way, or the right way, but I came up with original and creative solutions. Like the time I stapled sheets to my wall and painted my shoes with my mom’s old oil paints. Tutorials are great in a pinch but they can also be creativity killers.

Asking for Help:

Some things really should be left to the pros. Why do we suddenly have to be good at absolutely everything? Learning how to ask for help and who to ask for help is a really valuable skill!  Just because you CAN do something yourself doesn’t mean you should. This is why I made my husband stop watching videos on how to replace the brakes on the minivan.
Going to the Library/Class etc

There is something so much more purposeful about getting on your bike and riding to the library for information. The hunt maybe is longer and the material takes more effort to unearth. But the rewards seem greater and more “real” when you are learning from official sources. It’s so much harder to take something with a catchy SEO click bait title seriously. Which videos do you trust?

Giving Up

There are some things you probably shouldn’t be doing at all (see: replacing the brakes on the family car if you are not a mechanic). In the information age there is so much pressure to be good at everything. It’s punishing and unrelenting.

But then there is my daughter rolling around the kitchen island. In two hours she sprouted wings and learned to glide about like her character Tinkerbell. YouTube saved us tears, and frustration and more. I’m so grateful to have this sort of a resource available to me now.

Even as I miss the good old days.

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