Thursday, September 11, 2008

Reflections on Participatory Culture article

Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture (.pdf)
This article assumes that kids should start off running in the 21st Century in order to be on track for creating excellent web input and maybe having that multi-million dollar great idea by 14. So now I'm going to lose all credibility by telling you why I'm not totally convinced.

Our family has received 4 phone calls from Bishops in our lives saying something like, "We've prayed to the Holy Spirt and we believe that God is calling you to go to __________ and we go. I believe God has a special place in his heart for clergy kids and when we are called to go somewhere, I believe that the move is part of God's developmental plan for my children.

God has never called us to the Silicon Valley. It would appear that the plan was to take the kids through the history of civilization. We live in rectories so with all the moves we lived in the older section of the community with the church being the closest building to our house

Our first posting was to a small (pop 450) village in the Yukon where the dominant culture was Southern Tutchone. We left when the oldest was in Grade 2 but he had already learned through school how to jig for salmon, snare a rabbit, ride a horse, ride in a dog sled, recognize animal tracks, etc., etc.

Our second posting was to a small town where the dominate culture was Scottish Presbyterian (almost identical to my birth community). There my kids learned frugality, that adults make the rules, that someone sees whatever you are doing and out of love and friendship will phone your mom because character matters. It was during this period that our oldest turned 12 and began sea cadets resulting in all of our children going through either sea or army cadets. The military data base recognizes our names and CSIS has checked us out.

Our third posting was to a community near the Windsor/Detroit border. We lived across the street from a Sikh temple, the Macedonian Orthodox Church and down the road from the Muslim school. It was here that the boys all got jobs working on a beef farm and studied either auto body or auto mechanics and bought an assortment of vehicles older than themselves to fix. It's also a place of home do-it-yourselfers so now two of my kids have bought a house this year and a third is looking for his fixer-upper first house.

Our fourth posting was to a small community with an agricultural college and a declining population and economy. Because of the economic situation, my husband works in 6 churches in 6 communities. The move emptied the nest and gave the kids time and space to make their own good decisions about the direction they would like to take in life. Eventually one son returned and discovered that there are opportunites here and he has been mentored and befriended by the men in the community. If he hadn't moved here, he never would have discovered that he likes studying accounting at least as much as writing screenplays.

While the article could be right about starting off running in 21st Century culture, it's not a bad thing to have a wide range of survival skills just in case the world gets unplugged or fortunes fall in the computer industry.

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