Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Professionally and Personally Connected

One of the great treats of summer as a teacher is sitting on my porch - early - before 5AM - and reading.  I realize people think I read lots of "intellectual texts" but in the early morning I read, Blogs, Facebook, My Twitter Feed and the NY Times.  I think of how my dad would love to have connected with others in such a way.  I listen to the birds and the sounds of night turning into day.  I wonder about the future and reflect on the past. 

The other day, there was an article about social media and its role in the lives of our children.  The author, reflecting on his daughter's friends, is a bit jealous of how they have stayed connected! 

I will admit that while our "out there" social lives have risks and drawbacks.  I worry about long-lost-loves posting pictures and about kids-being-kids and hurting others through words and images that cannot be controlled or recalled.  Yet, in the end, the advantages appear to outweigh the disadvantages.  My own friends and associates from HS, college, past jobs are now reconnecting on Facebook and Linked In.  Relatives, friends, associates, who have long since moved from my close-in-circle-of-people-I-talk-to-daily know what I am thinking! 

I worry about people - educators and non-educators - who fear the social media or other technologies and pray that we can all learn to safely travel in cyberspace. I wonder about how our world might change in the future due to our connectedness.  I know that days of waiting-for-the-mailman have already been replaced by "connecting" and signing-into-accounts.  While all progress has drawbacks, it is through our connectedness that it is far easier to be "intensely focused at work and also intensely engaged in other people’s lives; ambitious in the world and generously giving in relationships, discerning and perceptive about people and their foibles, but simultaneously able to focus on the best in each of them."  Like Tony Schwartz, I too am in awe of and a bit jealous of the power to move ahead, and yet stay connected. 

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