?Join us this 2015-2016 academic year, as we take time each month to reflect on a theme as a learning community. Hear from faculty and staff in a personal reflection on the theme, as they consider how the concept applies to their life and work. See here for an overview of these themes, which will also be highlighted in each month'sschool e-newsletter.
?The theme for our school community this November 2015 is "Remember." In a culture thirsty for the next big thing, it takes intentionality to remember what's most important.
Download (& save or print!) a PDF of this November calendar,NOVEMBER-REMEMBER-CALENDAR.
Kurt Lorenz has written this month's personal reflection--speaking from from the heart about how he has considered the theme. Kurt is the school's Creative Media Specialist, and has created the Monthly Theme graphics,?degree videos, and much, much more!
Personal Reflection on the Theme, "Remember"
I have always been fascinated with technology.? ?
I remember my father bringing home our first remote-control television. He hid around the corner and started changing the channels and cranking the volume up and down. I couldn?t figure out what was happening! When he showed me the remote it was like a magic wand. No longer did I have to stand by the television and change channels for my parents as they sat on the couch. I had been liberated by technology.
I remember my first real video game system, the Atari 2600, and the hours spent in awe of controlling the shapes on the screen. This was a whole new paradigm. I was actually interacting with my television, not just passively staring at it. And the games, as primitive as they were, took me to places in my imagination I may have never gone. Making me a character in the story, letting me have a say in the outcome, allowing me to be better at something than my parents were. Technology had given me confidence.
In my teen years I started to be intrigued by electronic music... Music made with synthesizers and drum machines and computers. I got my first Casio keyboard when I was 13 and started my first band shortly after. I still make music with technology, but I find myself struggling to keep up with the latest software/hardware. And with technology moving at the speed of commerce there's no way to stay ahead.
I remember getting my first iPod! What an amazing thing. It was bleeding edge technology with its black and white LCD screen and touch controls. I could have all of my music with me wherever I went. But more importantly I remember feeling like the member of an elite club. This was probably my first ?lifestyle brand? purchase and just the start of things to come.
As I get older and my children become young adults, I find the urge to share with them the joy I received from these technological marvels of my time.?I recently downloaded recreations of vintage Atari video games on my Mac computer and showed them to my boys. They were aghast. They couldn't understand how I could get any enjoyment out of such low quality games. I went back and tried to play those games for which I held such fond memories and I found that something had changed.... They no longer filled me with joy like they once did... And even worse, now the memory of those joys had been tainted.
I started to realize that you can't go back in time and relive nostalgia to its fullest, no matter how sweet the memory. Because you've changed! Go back to the house you grew up in and the rooms seem smaller. Wander the halls of your old high school and they seem shorter and more narrow, the colors less vibrant, the experience dull in comparison. The danger of nostalgia is that it?s also untrue. It softens the reality of the past. It changes the facts?making them less jagged, with the bad things less painful and the good things less shiny.
Nostalgia has become big business.?Star Wars, comic book movie sequels and our childhood franchises rebooted.... New music that sounds like an old decade... All built to trigger a response in you, to get you to think you feel the way that you used to and of course, to take your money!
Technology has done so much to aid us in remembering the past. Whether it?s family tree software or the digitization of every moment of human history available with the click of a mouse. We no longer have to remember important dates or phone numbers or addresses and at least that frees up some space in our brain for remembering passwords. Scientists are not exactly sure what the memory capacity the human brain is, but they estimate it is somewhere around?a million gigabytes or 2.5 petabytes. Considering all of the conscious and subconscious information we?re saturated in daily, my hunch is that our capacity to remember isn?t exhaustive. Sooner or later we run out of space. As I get older, I?m starting to be more aware of that, and I?m starting to choose which moments I?m remembering ? filing them away, because they?re important to me.
?So, what do I choose to remember??With the experience of having my first child, Ian, every moment was brand new and I didn't know which one I should remember. So I saved everything. And then, with each subsequent child (I have 4 children), I?ve slowly learned what things are more important to remember ? ?which moments are rare and even unique to that child. I remember Ian was always a smiley, happy kid and loved to play in the mud. Bastian was very sweet and caring, and loved babies. Illaria was always making people laugh ? making funny faces, and telling jokes.?
If Illaria were to hear me saying these things about her, she would second-guess me. ?In our family, my wife / ?mom? is the one who remembers things ?correctly.? Mom is the fact keeper and I get to tell stories in a fantastic way ? a bit bigger and more exciting then they were. The truth is, as a family, we help each other remember. That?s the beautiful thing about memories ? they?re shared. Nostalgia is often individualistic and internal ? unique to you. Relational memories are communal; we gain more from remembering together.
After 12 years of being a family of 5, we are now a family of 6. My son, Marc, is now 18 months, and a bundle of life and joy for each of us. I?ll always remember Marc?s love of music, and how he lights up with melodies and rhythms of all kinds. But even more importantly?I will always remember his love of his siblings, and watching his siblings love him. That?s?truly?incredible.?
?Every time I say my son Marc?s name, I remember my best friend by the same name that is no longer with us.?Naming Marc by the same name (though spelled with a ?c? instead of ?k?) was a conscious choice, which, at the time, I thought would be at times painful and difficult ? but as time goes on, I?m actually really glad. My friend Mark was very instrumental in my wife?s and my relationship and he was the best friend I ever had. Elbereth and I had both agreed that we should name our youngest baby, if it was a boy, after Mark. Every time I say my son?s name, I not only speak it with love for my son ? but I honor the memory of my best friend.
?If I look back 10 years ago at the technology I had, I think it?s lame compared to what I have now.?In contrast, the memories of the people in my life never seem old or quaint. Sure there?s nostalgia associated with relationships, but people don?t become antiquated. That moment is available to us with fresh relevance every time we access it. Sure, relationships DO fade, in the fact that people fade out of relationship with you from time to time. However, the value gained from the relationship doesn?t change. The value I?gained?from my relationship from my mother didn?t change even though our relationship was broken, and we were not in communication for the last 10 years of her life. I still gained value, though the relationship changed. In contrast, the value I gained from a 10-year-old iPod is not at all the same as the value I have now. Sure, it was entertaining for a while, but I don?t carry anything forward from it. The relational memories ? we actually carry those things forward. Not only do we carry them forward, but we?build?upon them. We use the value of those memories and those relationships in our lives?including every single relationship we have moving forward.
This month, join me in these thoughts! Maybe take a few moments to stop and consider this idea of ?memory? for yourself. Think back 10 years. What was a thing that really ?wow-ed? you then? How quaint is it now? Then take some time to think back 10 years to a moment in time that was shared with a person or remembered about them.?
What do YOU want to choose to remember? What is most important? How can you be intentional in choosing to remember?