My eldest daughter, Dominique, is wrapping up her five week summer school program at Exeter this coming Friday. From all accounts, she had a blast.
How do I know? Did I get a bunch of calls or letters from her? Well, maybe a few calls here and there, but mostly via mobile phone texts and via her Facebook "story". What do I mean by that?
Consider these two examples.
The other day my wife, Kyra,mentioned that she had spoken with Dominique.
"How did you manage to get hold of her?" I asked.
"It's easy," she replied, "I just send her a text. If I get a text back, I know that she has her phone next to her. Then I just pick up the phone and call her."
We were sitting around the kitchen table this week, finishing dinner, when Carolyn, Kyra's mom, mentioned: "Did you see Dominique's status in Facebook today? She has a new boyfriend."
"And he's from New Jersey!" exclaimed Kyra.
"Yeah, I saw that." I added.
I remember my Exeter days when all we had at Dow House, our dorm,was a pay phone and a tv room in the basement, and whoever was watching tv answered the phone when it rang and then ran up the stairs yelling "Goose! Telephone! It's your mom calling from Brazil!"
A few years later, after graduating from college, I got asked by Exeter to be part of an Alumni Technology Committee. Our job was to spend a few days at Exeter, look at everything they were doing regarding technology, and make recommendations. I remember thinking, "man, these kids are lucky! They are wiring the entire campus! They will even have an Internet connection and a phone connection in their dorm rooms. If they ony knew how it used to be..."
Roll a few years forward, Dominique is now 13, she is starting 8th grade in the Fall, and she goes to Exeter for the Summer School Program. It is the 4th of July, and her Facebook status reads:
Dominique Goncalves in new hampshire in a hotel room watching deal or no deal-15 minutes away from exeter.
July 4 at 10:06pm· Comment·Like
Dominique Goncalves IS IN BOSTON!!!! 45 MINUTES 2 NH!!!
July 4 at 5:11pm·Comment·Like
I have to confess. I have spent more time looking at Facebook these past five weeks than I have had a in a very long time. It is always fun to check out Dominique's new "friends", her pictures, and her status updates. You can get a very good sense of what she is up to. And to add to that, I caught myself this week sending Dominique a phone text during lunchtime, checking in on her, hoping that I would get an answer back...
This morning, while I was having a coup of coffee and checking on Dominique's Facebook status, I thought that it would be fun to try to summarize Dominique's Exeter experience via Facebook. So I went into Facebook and copied her Facebook content all the way back from July 4th to present. I have 52 pages of stuff to go through. I am still in the process of formatting it, still not quite sure what I am going to do with it, but I bet it will be a fun thing to look back in a few months.
Even with all of this technology and ease of access, I promised myself that I would send Dominique a package via US Mail every week while she was at Exeter. And I have done just that. It really does not matter what was in those packages (very silly stuff, most of the time). I remember that, while at Exeter, we used to run to the Academy post office after each Assembly, excitted and wondering what we would find when we opened our PO box, hoping to find that little slip of paper that said: "you have a package"...