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Monday, March 24, 2008

Going from "It" to "Out": Dealing with network withdrawal



Sunday after going to church and eating lunch with my family, I got to relax by the pond, watch the millows meander and the dragonflies hum as I fished for catfish. I enjoyed being "out" of it.

We went home and watched the The Pride of the Yankees, about baseball great Lou Gehrig (which is worth seeing just to see the Real Babe Ruth play himself) and had a very interesting discussion about how quickly a person arises into "fame" and then can be snuffed out due to health reasons or retirement.

It was a fascinating discussion with the kids and my husband about going from being "It" to being "Out." (Gehrig died in his thirties from the disease named after him.)

My children observed that that seems to be the problem with Britney Spears here in the states. They think that she will, "Do whatever it takes to stay on the front page... not able to deal with the fact that she's no longer 'it.'"

I also see this in the blogosphere and twittersphere
It is a dangerous path to trod to be dependent upon the feedback of others for one's self esteem.

For a while, when I first emerged into the blogosphere, and then had to go away from it for a while, I was plagued with guilty feelings. What would I miss? Who would I not respond to? What would happen without me? Would I be left "out?"

Then, it slowly dawned on me that the twittersphere and blogosphere and all such things will rock on just nicely without me and that is OK.

In today's world of hurry and scurry, we have still got to be able to disconnect and slow down!

A life to live!
I also think that most of us feel "out" at least some time or other.

For example, I didn't have time to do color Wars 2008 (the world's most massive game of rock, paper, scissors using Flickr) this weekend -- I had things to do with my family... and that was OK!

And I missed out on the Christmas "elf" santa thing a lot of twitters did over Christmas. I haven't been able to do any memes and am quite behind on my RSS reader.

Does this mean that I am insufficient? Does this mean that I'm doing something "wrong?" Should I feel "guilty?"

Realization that we ARE "it"
And almost by divine providence, I opened up my "Real Simple" magazine and saw this poem from Maya Angelou:

"When we come to it/
We must confess that
we are the possible/
We are the miraculous,
the true wonders
of this world/
That is when,
and only when/
We come to it."

Maya Angelou from A Brave and Startling Truth (c) 1995, Random House


Being "it" is not being "in."
It is being me.

In this world of immersive, submersive social networking -- we can easily lose ourselves. I find that it is easy to get lost in a sea of friends and left wondering where and who I am.

We have got to teach students and ourselves how to navigate these waters and continue to have a strong, grounded, purpose and life. How to be "called" when everyone is call-ing.

I find that I HAVE to make the time to spend alone in prayer and reading my Bible. I also have to find time alone to read and just think and ponder.

I even have to find time to fish.

Let's go fly a kite
I saw something terribly disturbing last Friday. We were out flying kites with the kindergarten class and my six year old son who is a student in the class. Many parents came out to enjoy this.

As my husband and I struggled to help our son get his kite up -- we'd get it up and it would fall. It would go up, he'd run a while or run into another kid and then it would get tangled and fall. WE laughed and had a blast.

But there was a little boy in the corner. His kite wouldn't fly.

You see. His Mom was on her cell phone.

The little sad boy with his lip quivering was trying to get the kite in the air while the Mom was giving her half attention as she exclaimed why she didn't like flying kites any more.

Her body was there. She wasn't.

Parents need to wake up
I'm tired of hearing parents complain about kids and cell phones when parents are horrible offenders too!

I see so many people so busy being somewhere else.

We're trying to be "it" and don't want to be left "out" so we forget "it." We forget the meaning in life, I think.

There is great beauty in watching a movie with one's family. Or reading a book with your child. Or flying a kite. Or pretending to catch a fish while the minnows meander and dragonflies hum.

There is also great beauty in being able to be instantly available to my family. There was also great comfort in the direct message twitters of my extended network of friends when my grandmother passed away this past summer. There is great laughter in the prods and pokes of my friends throughout my networks.

I do not reject the new novelties we have found.

I only state the obvious.

Beware the things you try to master lest you become the servant and it becomes the master!

Technorati authorities change like the wind as does readership, blog stats, friends, links, twitters and blog comments. And staying grounded in who one is has never been more important.

My advice on finding "it"
Remember to intentionally use your time to do the things that will make your life better.

Clutter in your house, your life, your computer, and your habits will take away from your life, not add to it. Consolidate what works and throw away what doesn't.

God is everywhere... you're not. It is not possible for humans to be everywhere and be all things to all people and the pressure to be "it" whether real or imagined is a WASTE of time.

Be who you are and respect others who aren't you. My Dad always says that "even a fool is right some of the time" -- listen to all sides and make up your mind for yourself.

Just don't let technology take over your life... it should add to it. Recent additions to my life like TimeBridge and Diigo are time savers and I plan to keep using them. Other sites I've tried recently don't work and will go the way of the dodo.

All this to say...
Learn, use, and tinker with technology... don't take it all so seriously.

Sometimes I literally walk away from this blog because I simply am not going to live the rest of my life worrying about my technorati ranking. I'm here to blog for the long haul about what I'm doing.

I'm here because it means something to me to be able to share and encourage others even though I'm so far from perfect.

I'm here because I have a calling not only to teach and parent and learn but a calling to blog and share with the most amazing profession of incredible people in the world... the educators.

Remember your noble calling, teachers.

And remember, you've got enough people in the world making you feel guilty about this and that without adding any more fuel to the fire. Your best is good enough... read your RSS when you can.. twitter when you can... blog when you can. And walk away from it sometimes so you can stay sane.

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