Saturday, April 2, 2011

Freedom of Speech

I would like to preface this post by saying I have absolutely no objection to online learning, modern degree progams (in fact I'd love to be part of one if your wealthy relative would like to send me a check), or new-fangled education methods. I'm just talking here....

Yes, it's been ages since I decided to update this little corner of my mind. I will try to improve. Ideally these writings would be about adoption news and details of our fabulous Colombian travel plans. However, those have yet to be written unless someone has had a premonition. Instead I shall regale you with some fascinating thoughts, ok? Ok.

The past several weeks have offered me much opportunity for personal reflection. It seems I have reached a point in my life where particular things, relationships, stages, beliefs, feelings, etc. need to be examined. No, I am not having a crisis of faith or a nervous breakdown (yet) or anything of that nature. Rather I am simply finding myself frequently.....unsettled. Let me give you an example of my recent thought processes:

A few days ago, one of my nieces mentioned having to give a speech for one of her college classes. This brought back many oh-so-horrible memories of my own undergrad speech class and the case of nerves that would inevitably decide to show up just before it was my turn. Very few people deliver riveting speeches on random topics at this stage in life, in case you are wondering, but we all somehow waded through this rite of passage together. Surprisingly (or not), the world of technology has now changed the long-dreaded public speaking debacle! Instead of going before a class, my niece gave her speech in front of her husband who recorded it and posted it to YouTube. Her professor would be doing the entire evaluation on the web. The public audience has been removed. Where then is the need for nervousness? Most of us can spout off any type of knowledge, or lack thereof, in front of those with whom we are most comfortable. It sounds like a great concept all around, doesn't it? No fear, minimal risk, no peer rejection--why not?

Wellllll. If you are me, you are a bit troubled by this idea. Learning simplified or the fall of traditional education as we know it?????? Gasp! I know. That's over-doing it a bit. Throwing in a bit of drama for flair. But think about it. As much as I love technology, at some point we are losing touch with a very important reality: the big wide world around us.

Online speeches aside for a moment, this triggered something in my feeble brain. How often do we see this scene unfold in our daily lives? It becomes so very simple to get stuck in our roles and our smallish frames of reference and lose sight of a bigger picture. I will speak for myself and say that life with minimal risk is much easier than the alternative. However, what will I miss if I stay here in this place of security simply because I fear the unknown or rejection or ________ (fill in the blank with any number of ridiculous fearful imaginings)? I will probably miss a lot of little things, and I will most definitely miss the bigger results that God has in store for my life.

So I am for reinstating the outside world. If that requires me to make some changes, to become more focused in certain areas, to find a different path of sorts, then so be it. My hope is that the destination will be worth it. It may not be simple or comfortable or quiet, but most worthwhile things aren't. And as far as the world of public speaking goes, I'm for a crowded room. Because really, if you can't picture people in their underwear and talk to them for a full 3 minutes about a foreign diplomat whose name you drew out of a hat......what's the point?

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