Thursday, February 17, 2011

Slow Down

I read a lot of thought-provoking things today. It all started with my morning Google Reader browse whilst I walked to the train. Rebecca from The Book Lady's Blog about the bankruptcy of Borders, and thoughts on where this leaves the book industry as a whole. I also finished Fahrenheit 451- a book I had never experienced before, and also deals with the questions of literature's value in a technology-driven world.

When thinking about Borders, and books, I often end up thinking about my job. I love my students immensely, and when I think about myself at that age, what I remember most are books. I'm not sure I can say the same for my students. While I don't think they will grow into the kind of adults that shun fiction and non-fiction in favor of wall-sized tv. However, I will say that I have had to encourage reading stamina in my students in a way that I'm not sure people my age had to be coaxed into. With my kids at school, we've practiced, over and over and over, the art of finding a quiet place to read, and several ways to read a book. I've timed the whole class many times to see how long we could read for. At the same time, in my personal life, I find myself making less time for reading and more time for other things. I catch myself refreshing my facebook over and over again, just to see if anything is new. I find myself now, on my Thursday date night with myself, with the tv on in the background, and even blogging has been difficult for me to maintain focus on.

Now, more than ever before, we as a society are making decisions from a wide menu of options. Will we internet browse? Catch up on the DVR? Text friends? Speed off to the mall or to town to check out the latest options there? I know after reading Rebecca's blog today, as well as the news coverage, I started thinking about the choices I am making with my time and my money. As we advance in technology, it is getting easier to ignore the power of books and education to help us make informed decisions. NCLB has made teaching a numbers game looking for results FAST. We use technology to help us find answers and to entertain us and to connect us FAST. We support big businesses because it is FAST. However, the really important things take time. Building reading stamina. Losing yourself in a book to find the answers you are looking for. Maintaining relationships with people you love, and continuing to hold them close as time passes. Holding yourself accountable for your life decisions. All slow things.

I'd like to challenge myself (and you) to build some slow, thoughtful habits. I'm hoping to use the long weekend coming up to become a more thoughtful decision maker. I'd like to slowly build more stamina to use the technology I have in a more thoughtful way, to spend some time in a quiet house with a good book each day, and to really connect with my husband and the many other people I love. I'd like to start spending my money in ways that allow me to connect with and support businesses and causes that are meaningful. I feel that making these changes, in my own small way, will help me to feel more at ease with the directions I see things moving in my career and in society. Slow down everyone, you're moving too fast.

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