Son angry when elderly mom asks for tech class, sister sends him videos of her past

When Ms. Sparks asked her son Allan to buy her a smartphone and teach her how to use it, he declined. When his older sister bought one from her mother, he was furious because he knew he had to explain to her how it worked. However, when his sister found out about his outburst, she surprised him with something he never expected.

“Please Alan. I want to be kept informed,” Mrs. Sparks asked her son. She wanted to buy a smartphone and smartwatch, but needed Allan’s advice on exactly what to buy. “I want a Facebook too. All my friends use it.”

However, Allan refused for what felt like the millionth time. He doesn’t want to buy her the devices because he would have to explain to her how they all work and she would probably bother him too often.

Allan was in his twenties and was getting his master’s degree from New York University. The program was so difficult that he did not have time to work. So he moved in with his mother to save on rent.

Meanwhile, his older sister lived a few states away, making him the only person who could teach her mom how to use a smartphone, and it seemed too boring.

A ping distracted Allan from his studies. Ruth had written to him with a video attachment. He thought it might be his niece and wanted to read it later, but another video came, then another, and another.

“Mom, if you want to talk to Ruth I can just set up a FaceTime call. You don’t need that stuff. It’s too complicated and I don’t have time to teach you,” he told his mom, trying to contain his frustration about suppressing her request.

The old lady frowns, but stops nagging him for a while. However, her birthday came and some family members gathered at her home. When she opened Ruth’s gift, she discovered a brand new iPhone and matching Apple Watch.

Ruth gave her mom a new phone and smartwatch as she wanted. | Source: Pexel

She is happy. It was the highlight of his evening, but Allan was furious. He wanted to scold his sister, who was leaving in a few days, so he took full responsibility for those devices. But he holds back because he sees how happy his mother is.

Luckily, Ruth managed to teach her a few tricks like downloading and creating a Facebook account for her. But when she left, Allan was left to his own devices.

He was bombarded with questions from Mrs Sparks. “Can you help me with my profile picture, Allan? How do I upload to Instagram? My watch is not syncing with my phone. Can you help me?”

At first he helped her, but after a few days he became more frustrated. “I can’t help you, Mom! I have to study. That’s why I told you, don’t buy that stuff! It’s too complicated for people your age!” he asks when she once again interrupts her studies. “Never talk to me on that phone again!” he adds, turning back to his computer.

He told her not to bother him with his questions anymore. | Source: Pexel

With his back to him, Allan couldn’t see the pain on his mother’s face. She left her room feeling rejected and didn’t ask him for a while.


“How are you?” Ruth asked her mother on the phone one day. Mrs. Sparks was pleased to hear from her daughter.

“Everything’s OK here. Your brother is studying for his midterm exams,” the older woman replied with a sigh.

“Well, now you have a lot of distractions with your phone, and the smartwatch was designed to track some of your health. Does it work?” her daughter asked.

“Oh well. But I have many questions and I can’t ask Allan them.”

“Why not ?”

“Because he yelled at me the other day. He’s been telling me not to buy these silly gadgets for a while because I’m too old to learn how to use them, and he might be right,” reveals Ms Sparks’ tone of sadness in her voice.

Ruth called her mother to see how she was and found out what Allan had done. | Source: Pexel

Ruth silently resents her brother, but she doesn’t tell her mother. Instead, she assured him that anyone of any age could learn to use these devices with a little patience and tried to explain a few things over the phone.


A ping distracted Allan from his studies. Ruth had written to him with a video attachment. He thought it might be his niece and decided to open it later. But another video came and another and another.

Allan couldn’t ignore it anymore and opened it. The first was a digitized video showing Mrs Sparks teaching Allan to walk. The next video showed her feeding him. In another, he struggled with math and his mother patiently tutored him.

Allan’s phone began picking up video after video. | Source: Pexel

The videos went on and on and Allan had no idea how or when his sister digitized her home videos, but he clearly got what she meant. Apparently his mother said something about his attitude and she taught him a lesson.

Another message came, and this time Ruth had written something. “She has been patient with you for many years. You should return this gesture. Don’t make me let you down,” she wrote, and Allan rubbed his forehead in frustration. He couldn’t believe how he had treated his mother, who for many years had been his favorite person and the best teacher anyone could have.

Finally he answered his sister. “You’re right. I’m sorry.” Then he got up from his desk in his bedroom and went into the living room where his mother was sitting on the couch.

He taught her everything she needed to know on her smartphone and was patient with her questions. | Source: Unsplash

“Hi, darling,” Ms. Sparks greeted. “You are hungry ?”

“No mom. Let’s connect your phone to your smartwatch and I’ll help you study whatever you want,” he said, smiling, stuffing his hands in his pockets in sorrow.

“Really?” she asked excitedly, grabbing her phone from the coffee table. He sat with her for hours, answered all her questions and never once complained. Mrs Sparks had learned enough to not have to bother Allan so much. But he had learned his lesson.

What can we learn from this story?

  • Helping seniors learn new things should not be seen as a chore. Allan was irritated by his mother’s questions about gadgets, but his sister reminded him that her mother had taught him many other things growing up.
  • Be patient with your aging parents. It can be difficult and life can be busy, but you should always be patient with your elders.

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If you liked this story, discover the story of a poor mother who lives with her son in an old caravan and won’t let anyone in until she’s hospitalized.

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