My son just learned how to open doors. He stretches as far as he possibly can, trusting that his socks won’t slip under the strain. He extends each of his five fingers until they curl around the handle and then he pulls down with all of his might. It is amazing to watch someone that was formerly unable to go from one room to another be able to do so now without fear. I love watching him do this.
I can see the pride in him when he finally pulls the door open and turns around to gauge my reaction. He wants to see if I approve, but what he really wants is to show me just how little he needs me, even for only one moment.
It is even better when he wakes up in the morning. He lowers himself down from his “big boy bed” and then opens his door as wide as possible. As he swings the door in front of himself, he smiles as big as anything I can imagine as I do something that I am proud of. He says, “Hi dad.” And I melt.
And I wonder what it was like to be able to melt someone like that. I wonder what it was like to simply be able to open physical doors and have that be enough. Now, everything is metaphorical and it seems as though all of the doors that I look at will give me no more satisfaction in going through than staying on the other side.
A former student of mine wanted to know how to connect his Zune to the wireless network within his current high school. As much as I wand to be able to help him, I don’t have an answer. I now work in a place that does not believe in open networks or true guest access without prior approval. This door is closed. But who is proud of opening it? Who cares whether or not users can bring in their own devices and get on the network?
Even if I do open this door, are we really going to be better for having gone through? We know what is over there. We can get there on our phones, our connect cards and thousands of other local wifi hotspots. I get why access is important. I get why leveraging all of the computing power in our pockets is what we need to be doing, but I don’t need it right now.
I want to know who we were when we first learned to open that door. When we fist gained access or asked the questions about what was possible when we connected our devices. I am interested in the outstretched fingers trying to find the handle on the web. Who were we then?
Were we the ones who knew what to expect? Did we know that everything was going to be tactile? Did we know that everything was going to be collaborative? Did we know that the web was going to be the place that all of us played and worked and found value?
And who are our parents in all of this? Who are the mentors who are sharing in our joy at having found the other side?
Open doors clearly bring out the questions in me, but it is that smile that I keep on coming back to. When I look at my son doing it, I know that the world should be finding new doors to open and not harp on ones that have already been fully explored.