Learning new tricks

by | 15 August 2020 | Education and Learning, Hobbies, Rotherham, U3A

It appears that the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” can be interpreted in two ways, namely that “someone old can’t learn anything new” or alternatively “there’s no substitute for experience”. Judging by their enthusiastic adoption of social media following the COVID-19 ‘shutdown’, U3A members have roundly rejected the first and most common interpretation. By mid-March almost every member with a smartphone had downloaded and was using WhatsApp to keep in touch with fellow group members. Telephone and email groups mushroomed.
The first to go ‘Zooming’ was a French Conversation group, which is now well into its third month of enjoying weekly meetings. Incidentally, a French equivalent of the “old dog, new tricks” idiom translates literally as “one can’t teach an old monkey to make faces”.
The Singing for Fun group took the plunge a few weeks later and has around 20 of its members per week happily singing together, ably accompanied by their regular keyboard player, old and new favourites reverberating in unison around 20 or so different homes.
Trustee meetings went virtual, each trustee bearing a wooden spoon or similar implement as instructed to signal their wish to speak! The business is serious enough, but the mood is light.
A screen filled with familiar faces is the new norm, and a saving grace during self-isolation. New tricks learned and put to good use by older people. In this way U3A friends continue to learn, laugh and live life to the full. Experience tells them that life goes on regardless. Whatever its length, there is light at the end of a tunnel.
For more about U3A activities visit www.u3asites.org.uk/rotherham.