Script Learning

It’s been a busy few weeks, with the holidays and then a wedding – the first of our siblings children to tie the knot.  Also consuming no small amount of my time was the shinny new and cuddly MacBook Pro we bought for Brenda just before the end of the year.

We serve our children by drilling them on facts and prescribed processes, and testing their recall ONLY if THIS is what we expect for them

A new computer and operating system (Mavericks) thrills me.  New opportunities, and new and interesting ways of doing things, working, learning and playing.  

But Brenda doesn’t look at it that way.  We compliment each other in so many ways.  I strive for the new and unpredictable, while she holds to certainty and the traditional.  I’m smart enough to know that she’s smarter than me, so — it works.

And, so, I’ve been working to make her brand new MacBook Pro behave exactly the same way that her four-year-old white MacBook did – with a few unavoidable exceptions.

Her copy of Intuit’s Quicken  which she uses to keep our books, would not run on Mavericks   She stopped upgrading Quicken, when the software dropped its check-printing feature in 2006.  And so, converting her data from 2005’s Quicken, to the new Quicken Essentials, was not going smoothly.  In fact, my research indicated that it couldn’t be done.

To get a second opinion, I called their tech support, and, after only about five minutes was connected to a young man with a delightfully exotic accent.  Not a problem. I love accents, even though my particular hearing disability makes interpreting them difficult for me.  The problem wasn’t his accent.  It was that he was determined to answer a question that I was not asking

I won’t go into detail, except to say that my research, prior to calling, informed me that there was a particular obstacle to upgrading from any version older than 2006.  He seemed not to hear that part of the problem and insisted on the standard upgrade process.  As that continually failed, he would leave the phone for increasing periods of time, coming back only to suggest something else that I had already tried before calling.  

I gave it an hour and a half, open to the possibility of a sudden and surprising solution, but then apologized and disconnected to make a 5:00 appointment.

The young man was working from a script, based on a set of expected and well understood problems, the solutions for which he had been thoroughly taught and tested.  I understand the approach.  It’s inexpensive, qualifies as successful training and probably solves a sizable number of predictable support problems.   However it is useless for unexpected and difficult to understand problems.

..and here’s the moral of my story.  If the last sixty-some years have taught me anything, it’s that most of what we experience in the future will be unexpected and difficult to understand and that much of what we didn’t expect and struggle to understand will actually reveal priceless opportunities.

We serve our future by drilling our children on facts and prescribed processes and testing their recall ONLY if it’s the picture above that that we expect for them.  Our children need to leave our schools practiced in a lifestyle of paying attention, evaluating, thinking, adapting, inventing and finding value.

I fear that this testing madness has already quite nearly ruined one generation.

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.