My son "Travis," age 9, is computer savvy, but his "Luddite" grandparents (my in-laws) live far away from us and don't even have internet access. They are no longer able to travel, and our finances prohibit frequent visits to them.
Travis could be Skyping them, and they could have a vital relationship through the miracle of modern technology. Instead, he will take their phone calls only occasionally, and enjoys the annual visit with them - but mainly because of the other relatives there.
If these were my parents (who are sadly long gone), I'd set them up on Skype and have them at least try. When his grandparents are no longer able to live on their own and move to assisted living, will that offer at least a hope of virtual connectivity?
- Modern Man in San Diego
DEAR MODERN MAN: By age 9, if your son isn't interested in talking to his grandparents, and his grandparents make no effort to reach out, do not expect it to happen when he's older and they go into assisted living.
Travis should be compelled to talk to his grandparents more often. If people want to connect, they usually somehow manage to do it through letters, phones, computers, etc. Over the last 20 years, many seniors have learned about computers and manage them quite well. If your in-laws have a smartphone, they could talk to your son on video chat.
Lessons getting stale
DEAR ABBY: I have been playing the piano for five years and I still enjoy it. But over the past year and a half, going for lessons every week and having to practice is getting old for me. In fact, I'm beginning to loathe it. It's not the teacher, it's not my parents - it's me. I'm just over all of the weekly lessons and having to REMEMBER to practice. My heart isn't in it anymore. What do you think I should do?
- Ryan in Michigan
DEAR RYAN: You should talk to your teacher about it. After five years of weekly lessons and diligent practice, you should have a pretty solid musical education by now. You may need to take a break, change teachers or even change instruments.