The death of Apple co-founder, innovator and muse Steve Jobs has been much discussed by our family, for several reasons. One is that the kids have, for the most part, grown up within the Apple pop-culture phenomenon. They have a number of Apple products among them and are consumers of Apple-ization.
Of course, the kids were concerned about the future of their beloved Apple products. Would everything continue to be smooth and wonderful since he has died? Until yesterday, they really took the ease of technology and media for granted. The questions began upon the news of Jobs’ death: about iTunes, support, ease of use, and future Apple programs and technology offerings.
My kids have grown up in time of instant gratification: pictures, as well as videos, can be viewed, edited and shared immediately after being taken. Schoolwork and projects can go back and forth between school and home on a thumb drive. The Mac is turned on and Skype pops up. Holden is on screen and a face-to-face conversation ensues. Far better than letter or phone, and almost as good as “being there.” Well, kinda…
The second, and probably more important, reason was the fact that Jobs had been adopted. And that was the story that we shared last night after celebrating the big guy’s birthday (my husband, Mark). Steve Jobs was adopted, domestically and as an infant. And my kids were FASCINATED.
Adoption changes lives; the changes are permanent and intergenerational. Adoption does not mean a child is necessarily better off, but it does mean that that their life and others’ have been irrevocably changed.
The kids wondered what would have happened if Steve Jobs’ birth mother had decided to parent him? Would Jobs have understood and appreciated the American work ethic? Would he have understood how things went and worked together (tinkering around in his machinist father’s garage, which impacted his drive for ease of use in Apple products)? Would Jobs have had the opportunity to attend and then drop out of college (fully aware and appreciative of the financial sacrifices his parents had made and not feel that they were getting their money’s worth), thereby taking a calligraphy class that would impact the future design aesthetics for Apple products? Would Jobs have been “driven” by and made the decisions he did because of the way he was raised?
One can never know. After all, it’s hard to compare apples with oranges.