Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 12 - State of the Union and Choice

The Headline today in Huffington Post is "Our Destiny Remains Our Choice."  According to Webster, destiny is defined as a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power of energy.  So the rhetorical question here is how can one create one's own destiny?  If destiny by definition is predetermined then how can we create it?  Let's look at create in Webster....1: to bring into existence <God created the heaven and the earth — Genesis 1:1(Authorized Version) 2: to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior.  So it is my belief that we have many predetermined events that we can bring into existence in our lives via choice.  Its the choices we make that bring into existence one of these destinies.  There is no complete opposite of choice ....as even to do nothing is still a choice.  

President Obama is asking us to support a choice of innovation, change, and technology.  A choice that will bring out the American destiny of leading the world again in education and technology and a more financially stable State of the Union.  Jobs, Jobs, and more Jobs.  That's the key isn't it? Technology is exciting.  I recently attended a technology conference in Orlando and filled out a survey for a chance to win an Ipad.  The survey asked three questions. 1) What is the biggest challenge for education training today? 2) What do you find frustrating about your learning environments? and 3) How can your learning environment be improved?  In summary my answers conveyed the friction between Baby Boomers and  Gen-Yers.

As a Gen Xer, I'm caught in the middle.  I see both sides. The Baby Boomers want to talk to you face to face.  The Gen-Yers prefer instant messaging and would rather communicate without eye contact.  I prefer voice mail that automatically generates an audio .mp3 file that is sent to my email.  The Baby Boomers want to do it their way because its been done that way forever. (Why that's the way we've always done it.)  The learning environment can be improved by discussing this white elephant in the room before the actual curriculum. By discussing these differences we learn to accept each others style and see the good in both while challenging our own style of learning.

Inevitably, some will say, "Don't tell me what to do, I have thirty years experience." To which we reply, "No you don't, you have one year experience thirty times."   There isn't, hasn't been and won't be any growth if we don't want to change for the better.  How can our State of the Union be better is we continue to do the same thing for thirty more years? Didn't Einstein define this as insanity?

I have a Computer Science teacher who is a PhD.  I had heard about his technophobia, but couldn't believe he still wanted us to print out our homework and hand it in. So in class I raised my hand and asked him if he would open the website class discussion board. He is a technology teacher so he would be hip right?  No, his age is holding him back. He responded, "I don't have a cell phone, a computer laptop, an iphone, an ipad, who needs all this technology?  It's a waste of money."  After pleading a second and third time, I said, "I'll show you how to do it."  And to his credit, and assurance from my classmates that he wouldn't have to do any extra work, and it was just a tool for us to help each other online and it wasn't for him anyway, he did it.  


Now take my professor on one hand and then my high school educated mother on another.  Mom and I  discovered Skype-a free internet program that allows us to talk to one another while seeing each other. It feels like a straight-out-of-the-Star-Trek-episode.  So at an undisclosed age (but the same age as my professor with the PhD) she figured out how to use it and now communicates via Skype.  What a difference technology has made in her life.  Her choice to embrace technology has improved her State of the Union tremendously. It has increased mine as well.  

So since being laid off I've chosen to return to school to get my second degree.  My first was a BS in Communications thirty years ago, this is an AS in Computer Science.  As a result of balancing my new and more fiscal budget, my choices produced a destiny of a scholarship that will pay for my education.  I was also able to attend the technology conference for free.  And because of my cumulative choices, I won a free Ipad. I wouldn't have created this destiny had I not chosen to go back to school, and not chosen to go to the technology conference.  Doing the right thing sometimes means making better choices and stepping out of our comfort zone.

I still don't know what my destiny holds for the future, I just know that the choices that I'm making now solidify a better destiny than the current State of My Union.


Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.~William Jennings Bryan

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