Down Home: Learning to communicate

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Technology can be confusing these days. Especially if you’re only 2 1/2 years old. Or the granddad of somebody who’s 2 1/2 years old.

That fact became apparent last week, while I was in the middle of a six-day road trip.

Joanna called me in Atlanta to say Ezra, our grandson, wanted to talk. In fact, she had just finished visiting with Ezra and his mama, Lindsay, our daughter. Ezra apparently asked about me.

He’s used to talking to Jo and me together. We hold my laptop, and Ezra and Lindsay pull out their iPad, and we actually look at each other while we’re talking. Mostly, Ezra bounces all over the couch beside his mama and asks to see our “puppy dog,” Topanga.

It’s Ezra on the line

“Ezra wants to talk to you, too,” Jo reported. As she and I visited, my cell phone beeped in my ear, and I glanced at the screen, which told me Lindsay was calling.

So, I hung up on Jo and phoned Lindsay.

“Ezra wants to talk to you,” Lindsay said as she answered the phone. “We’re on speaker-phone, so he can hear you.”

Here’s a verbatim account of the next part of our call:

Me: “Hi, Ezra. What are you doing?”


Me: “Hey, it’s Marvo. I sure miss you and wish I were there so we could play trains. How are you today?”


Lindsay: “Marvo’s on the phone. You’ve been saying you want to talk to Marvo. Can you say something to him?”


Lindsay: “He’s kind of shy right now.”

Me: “I know. That’s OK, buddy. I’m shy, too. I hope you’re having fun this morning. What are you doing?”


Lindsay: “Can you tell Marvo what you’ve got in your hand?”

Ezra: He says something but he’s far from the phone, and I can’t make it out.

Me: “What are you playing with, Ezra”

Ezra: More of the same, which I can’t make out.

Lindsay: “That’s right, a tape-measure.”

Me: “Wow, a tape measure. You can figure the size of all kinds of stuff. What are you measuring, Ezra?”


Lindsay: “That won’t work, Ezra. … He’s holding the tape measure up to the phone, trying to show it to you.”

Me: “I can’t see it, buddy. But I wish I were there to help you measure things. When I come to see you, get it out, and we’ll measure all your stuff.”

Lindsay: “He’s still holding it up to the phone.”

My grandson will grow up taking for granted all kinds of gadgets and inventions we thought were science fiction when I was his age. From video phones to things I can’t even imagine, Ezra and people his age will handle them all with ease. And they’ll wonder how the world existed without technology like that.

Soon: the swipeable TV

My friend Ryan says his 3-year-old daughter tries to “swipe” their TV when she wants to change the channels. Before long, she’ll be right. Somebody will invent a swipeable TV. And then a TV that changes channels just because you think about changing channels.

Ezra, Jo and I are blessed by fancy technology that allows us to visit face-to-face, even though we live hours apart. But we’re blessed by something much older and far better.

Lindsay: “We’ve got to go now. Ezra, is there something you want to tell Marvo?”

Ezra, in a faint-yet-clear voice: “I love you.”

Me: “And I love you, too. You’re a terrific grandson. I’ll see you soon.”

Video phones are fun and cool. New-fangled technology often improves our lives. But what we really run on is as old as humanity. A grandson’s love is better than any hi-tech phone or powerful computer.

God made us for love.

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