Advertisements

Life Update 6/20/18

Tags

, ,

Hello friends,

Had a great class today.  My Intercultural Communication students gave final presentations (we’re ending our short “Summer 1” session), and it’s really gratifying to see what they’ve learned in a few short weeks.  They now enter the world with some new insights about living in community with others.

For this project, they conduct an extensive interview with someone from a culture to which they (the student) don’t belong.  The student will examine cultural rites and rituals, language use, assimilation and integration, stereotypes, and a host of other course terminology.  I’ve been teaching this course for several years, and have learned from my students about a wide variety of cultural groups, such as deaf culture, rodeo culture, Coachella culture, and (today) the Beyhive, i.e. Beyonce fan culture (which is deeply layered and quite fascinating).  We also had presentations on various ethnic, religious, and political cultures.

Some of you may notice I changed my site tagline to “Teacher, Learner, Critical Thinker.”  I love these moments when I can learn from my students, and they also take part in teaching each other.  As they present their projects and facilitate class discussion of their chosen topics, I see the passion, insight, and great future potential of these young people.  They’re smart, and they care.  They’re going to move mountains, just you wait.

It saddens me when adults say they’ve lost faith in today’s young people, and that they expect little of this generation.  All I can say is, I spend my days with young adults, and I see great things ahead for them, and for all of us.

Keep the faith, my friends.  These “kids” are fantastic.

Blessings,

Annette

Teenagers Young Team Together Cheerful Concept

Advertisements

It was always an ideal

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Dear friends,

Scroll through your social media accounts these days, and you’ll see a lot of despair.  America isn’t what it claims to be, people are saying, and it never was.  Hatred and divisiveness never seem to die, and our forefathers did so many things that fly in the face of the freedom and justice they talked about, wrote about, supposedly fought wars about.

aaaaaa

And it’s true.  The history of our country is filled with events that make our patriotism, our songs of freedom ringing from every mountainside, seem like the worst hypocrisy.  How, we ask, could our founding fathers write about liberty while owning slaves themselves?  How could they argue about property rights while, at the same time, forcibly take property away from aboriginal peoples who had been here for millennia?  How could they talk about equality while counting a black man as 3/5 of a person?  How could they honestly, deep in their hearts, believe in manifest destiny?

Fast-forward to today, and you’ll find a lot of despair over America not living up to its promise.  Hatred seems to have made a comeback (newsflash: it was always there).  We see images on the news of parents and children being forcibly separated.  We’re hearing words that we thought were long obsolete, like “concentration camps” and “internment.”

aaaaaa

So what’s our calling?  What do we do?  Do we throw up our hands and walk away in despair, crushed by the realization that we’re not living up to our ideals, and that we never have?  Or do we revive those ideals, talk about them, and renegotiate their meaning?

If you believe, as I do, that our ideals should be reconciliation, healing, justice, dignity, and life in community, you must not give in to despair.  Our belief, our enduring hope in those ideals is all that stands between us and the future we fear.  Our problems are too big for any one person to solve, so we must stop looking for someone to step in and save us.  We have to save ourselves.  But how?

aaaaaa

We must reject the notion of securing our personal freedom and comfort at the expense of others.  We must recognize that the feeling of “I’m sorry for them, but thank God it’s not me” is coming from a privileged position.  We must accept that while we can’t do everything, we can do something.  We can come out of hiding.  We can confront the fear.

We can say no, this is not who we are, and I’m going to do something today to prove it.

And then we engage.  We write, we talk, we pray, we connect.  We enter the world as people who embody those lofty ideals we profess to embrace.  We use our positions, whatever they may be – teacher, parent, business person, laborer, leader, follower – to positively influence those around us.

Do what you can, right now, today, wherever you are.  And don’t ever, ever give up.  The “shining city on the hill” won’t build itself – we have to do it, you and I, brick by brick, and if someone knocks it down, we must begin again.

Blessings,

Annette

010