Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bringing Blogging to the Next Generation

Over the Christmas holiday vacation, I had the opportunity to introduce my niece and nephew to the wonderful world of blogging. And it wasn’t even my idea. One afternoon, we happened to be talking about the videos I was making, and I showed them a few on YouTube, which eventually led me to showing them my blog. Of course, my Nephew (who is eight) really loved the use of the word “H-E-double-hockey-sticks” in the title of the blog. (His father, however, did not.) Nevertheless, I explained to them how I could write about anything I wanted and put it on the web, and people would actually read it. (A feat, I must admit, I’m still pretty amazed by.)

When it was time for dinner, we all went to the dining room to eat and I thought that would be the end of it. But during the meal, my Nephew kept steering the topic of conversation around to my videos, or the blog, or what I liked to write about. Finally, in the middle of dessert, he blurted out a question that took me entirely by surprise.

“Uncle Henson, how did you get such a great personality?”

You can imagine how my heart melted. Everyone at the table let out a collective gasp and giggle. It was such an innocent question, phrased so perfectly, that I was quite taken aback. (Partly because I wasn’t really sure how to answer it, and partly because I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I didn’t want to come across like a blubbering idiot.)

“I think my mother and father had a lot to do with it,” I answered simply.

The next day, my Nephew begged me to help him create his own blog. And shortly after that, my Niece decided that a blog was something she would like to learn how to do as well. So I helped them set up their blogging accounts on Blogger, and then they sort of took it from there, anxiously pointing and clicking to select their titles, colors, design, etc. At some point, I was called away to watch something on TV, and they were left on their own to post whatever they wanted.

When I came back an hour later, they were trying to figure out how to add links to some of my videos. Apparently each of them had decided they wanted to post one of the “Bird Bits” on their blog. (Honestly, I did not prompt this or even think to suggest it.) My Nephew liked the “Skate Birds” episode, and my Niece favored the “Scavenger Hunt” video. (Again, I was touched by the fact they even wanted to include me on their blogs at all. It certainly wasn’t a requirement when creating one.)

Next, my Nephew asked me help him write something, as he wasn’t really sure how to start. He was very interested in giving his critiques on some movies he’d seen, as well as several video games he’d played. So, as I sat at the typewriter and his sister sat behind me, he dictated to me his review of some new Alan Quartermain movie that apparently “sucked big time.” I tried to make helpful suggestions and keep his story focused, but mostly the words came from him. (Okay, there were a few Hensonisms that I threw in, which had the three of us laughing so hard, I think tears were running out of all our eyes. It was absolutely the best time I’d ever had with them, and I felt like it bonded it us in a way we’d never been before.)

In fact, the rest of the writing session was filled with so much laughter and giggling, that several other members of the family stopped by just to see what all the ruckus was about. I felt like I was in my element in the “teacher” role and I treasured every minute of it. The rest of the vacation, the Niece and Nephew were obsessed with adding more pictures, videos and critiques to their blogs, and I became their resource for valuable information about how to create links, add pictures, etc. It was a role I was happy to play.

But that’s just me. Has a family member or relative ever asked you to help them create a blog of their own?


jakill said...

As soon as I read this, I wanted to read their blogs. Then I thought you were very sensibly protecting them by not giving out the links to one and all.

Glad you all had a great time anyway.

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

Nope, my husband just writes out or dictates to me what he wants me to post for him.

desperateblogger said...

how i wish i could read their blogs. i've a daughter who blogs too. she's a teacher and her blog is all about her teaching experiences. my other girls blog in their social network sites too.

Daisy said...

Daisy's mom here: That's wonderful! I can't even get my husband to read Daisy's blog! At least my mom reads it.

Henson Ray said...

jakill--you are correct. I was thinking of including part of their stories on my blog, but it's probably better if we don't have the two worlds meet just yet.

Karen--How funny. So you're sort of Secretary Blogger. Doesn't he type?

desperateblogger--I think blogging is a fun experience...good way to keep in touch with family members...

Daisy--I know exactly how you feel, believe me. I've always found it interesting that the only people reading my blog are perfect strangers, or people I've "met" through cyberspace. But as for my friends or family---not interested. Except for my Nephew and Niece, of course.. Go figure!