Friday, June 17, 2011

LUBlogTribe for a different audience

Here goes my attempt at 90 blog posts in 90 days. A bunch of students and a dear friend of mine are doing it. I'm going to jump in the pool with them. Because it's good for me. I know I'm a day late. But give me a break - I can find some really good excuse...... or I can start right now.

Those that know my digital personality or multiple digital selves know that I'm working to figure out not only my voice, but my audience. After spending two days at the #140conf in New York, I realized I've got a pretty good handle on what I'm trying to do with social media for work. I still need to exercise my writing. Every time I sit down to write the Wednesday post for the newsletter, I freeze up. I struggle with writing something worthy of being read.

I've created a few different blogs to write about my perspective. Mostly as a way to measure my own progress or to kick the tires of ideas. My position is kind of a misfit: I'm an administrator who thinks like a faculty member. I'm "staff" but I yearn to share what I know and to share collective theories and practice. If I'm not given an assignment to teach - I find ways to fill the emptiness in my life by reading, writing and talking to students and faculty about their teaching, learning and research. My work sometimes consumes me. The more I learn about other's interests, the more connections I see to the art experiences that we can share. The most satisfying moment in my work comes when someone's facial expression changes as they see, hear or understand sometime new to them; making a connection of relevance. If it happens during a performance - I get goosebumps.

But enough about work. This time, I write for a very important audience to me: my kids. I know they're not reading it - you are. But they might later stumble on it later in life when they're looking for stories of their childhood and I might not have the capacity to remember the details.


My darling children are about to have an incredible summer. And they might not remember how great a simple life can be. A life without worries of jobs, relationships, money or term papers. They've got about 80 days before 3rd grade. Some of the things they do this summer may be those fuzzy memories that bring them happiness when later in life their therapist asks them to remember their childhood.

When I try to remember my childhood, I can only conjure flashes of scenes with my father's wheelchair, fights with my brothers, or family moments that are out of order. Every once in a while I'll get a chance to ask my mother to tell me about a certain time; but it's a haze for her as well. Not that she isn't sharp as a tack. But she did have 5 kids in the span of 6 years, then took care my dad who had severe MS. No one could expect her to remember details.

Every once in a while, my kids ask me to tell them stories of when they were little. Sounds funny coming from a couple of 8 year olds. Their favorite story is about when they were born. I have spared them the emotional details of my own experience of the first 3 months. They prefer the way I tell them about the DAY they were born. It's a good story. I'll save it for one of the posts if I need a topic later.

For now - today's story is about their first achievement of the summer of 2011. They passed the deep water test at the Bethlehem Township Community Pool. It's something they've wanted to do for TWO years; going down the big water slide. Two years ago, they could barely get their faces in the water. Last year, we didn't have a membership. This school year, we gave the kids swimming lessons at the YMCA. Their strokes need a little work, but they had enough skill to try.

While they were waiting in line for the test, I heard a mom coaching her kid on how to cheat. I was so shocked that she would think her daughter's feelings were more important than her safety. The test isn't that hard. Swim one length of about 10 feet distance, touch the side. Swim back but before touching side, tread water for one minute. She was telling her kid to rest on the far side, then kick off the wall hard enough that she doesn't have to work on the swim; saving her energy for treading water. Thank God the life guard overheard the conversation and had enough maturity at 17 years old to fail the kid. Of course, the kid cried. The mom gave the guard a mean, momma-bear look and lead her kid back to the shallow end.

My kids passed the test. They got their wrist bands of honor, their names on the "approved" list for the summer, and ran over to climb the steps for their reward. I actually got a couple of good pictures of their moment. Which was no small bit of luck on my crappy iPhone 3GS camera. They looked so tiny as they splashed off the slide. But one look at my kids' smile as they climbed out for another turn was all the joy I needed for the rest of the week.

#1 of 90in90 for #LUBlogTribe

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