What do I do?

What do I do?   Or really, can your child explain what you do?   I asked the kids this a few weeks ago what I did at work.

Our 7yo answers, “You check your emails and play on the computer.  You have meetings.”

Our 9yo answers, “You make computer programs.”

“What’s a program?” asks the younger one.

Hmmm…    good question.  How would I explain this? I try to think of what she knows on the computer.

“You know Club Penguin?   Someone had to make Club Penguin on the computer.  Draw the penguins, tell them what to do, make them move…   I sorta make things like that with the computer.   But not Club Penguin.”

Quizzical look.   That made no sense.  Not even to me.

“Well…  I make the computer do things.  I tell the computer what to do.”

Hmmm..  that sorta worked.   I think our 9yo understands, but our 7yo still has some problems grasping virtual/theoretical concepts.  I’m not too worried now cuz I think it’s just an age thing.   I wonder if having a physically practical and visible job like a policeman or bricklayer would help 🙂

I discussed this with a colleague at work and he had a better analogy that I might try next time.   That I make up something like a cooking recipe that I give to the computer to “cook”.   But that nowadays, I spend more time organising other people to make the recipe instead of me.

But it made me think of when I young.   I remember my Dad buying an Apple II and one of my favourite books was a programming book, to write simple things like “Hello” using Basic.   I think I might introduce basic computer programming to our kids, at least our 9yo.   I think she might find it fascinating to be able to get the computer to do things.   She already seems to have a handle on DVD Photo authoring tools!   I wonder what language – Basic or Visual Basic might be a good start.

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