A couple weeks ago, I finished listening to Sir Ken Robinson's The Element. The book acts as an accessible educational treatise and claims that we need to do better at preparing students for an unknowable future, one without a priority on standardized tests.
I can generally run with that. Standardized tests don't mean much beyond a student's ability to do that test that day; the breakdown of academic subjects is archaic and does not reflect the slushy reality of day-to-day living.
But I find the book's emphasis on "breaking the mold" a little... lacking. The overall tone seemed to reflect a direction in education that concerns me a little: I call it "TEDizeation."
TEDization refers to catering to the ideals that people see in TED talks. TED talks are popular, but not necessarily good. TED creates a false equivalence between the presenter and the research, and prioritizes inspiration over substance. People come out of these talks feeling good, but they don't necessarily carry the nuance needed for lasting change. I feel like The Element fits in that cookiecutter, insofar as it prioritizes passion, despite the ease by which our passions are misguided. It's not wrong... but it's artificial.
On You Are Not So Smart, a recent episode (embedded above) highlighted how our notions of the "self" change how we act like "fully realized" individuals. I've embedded it above. It's a good supplement to The Element, since Robinson's book comes off as highly self-indulgent. But I'll likely post more on that later.
But until then, I'd just like to exercise some caution about feeling like TED ideals are the ideals we want to imbue students with.
Gregory Alan Thornbury's 'Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music: Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock.'
I've written about Larry Norman before. Once, a few years ago, I posted a little reflection about him based on an odd interview with the director of that tasteless documentary about him, and a few months ago I posted about a specific song. I'm still a fan, but more because he, himself, fascinates me.
A few months ago I learned that Penguin/Random House was publishing a biography about him, so I ordered it. As soon as I received it, I read it in a couple days.
This morning I posted a review on Amazon. I'm not good at reviews, so I kept it short.
That's all for now.
A couple weekends ago, I ran the Vancouver Sun Run for the first time. My ankle was really sore and I had a cold, so it was uncomfortable and painful, but I did it and I'm glad I did.
I went down with a bunch of staff and students from the school. I'm trying to say "yes" to more opportunities like that.
Since then, I think I've discovered that my most recent pair of shoes are a little too small, hence the sore ankle. Sigh.
I deleted most of my "Likes" from Facebook.. Much like I deleted all of my past history on Facebook a couple years ago, I've been trying to make the platform decidedly personal for me. I want to make it so it represents my identity as little as possible. I want to feel no loyalty to the platform.
So then I ran myself through the "Magic Sauce" from Cambridge University (not Cambridge Analytica):
Apparently I'm an extrovert now, and I'm 25.
Their Twitter assessment, however, is probably still pretty accurate:
When I was 12 years old, Steve Taylor released Squint, a disjointed solo album that I really enjoyed. The songs were a little uneven, but as a whole I enjoyed them. I was particularly fond of "Smug" and "Sock Heaven," and the opening track "The Lament of..." is a pretty awesome rock track as well.
I was never quite a fan of one of the hits, "Jesus is for Losers," but I accepted the message. The concept of the song is essentially "We're all broken, sinful losers and Jesus came to save us." Taylor was trying to send a classic evangelical message by turning it on its head.
I internalized that kind of messaging hard. I, Jeffrey Nordstrom, was a born horrible and unacceptable, such a horrible being that God had to send his son and kill him in order to make me acceptable.
The issue was, though, that I took it further. When I felt shameful, I assumed it was because I was intrinsically a shame; when people constructively criticized me, I assumed it was due to my sinful, broken nature; when I felt like crap, I felt like I deserved it; when people complimented me or praised me, I talked myself down in order to remind myself of mine and the world's sin of pride. Although I always knew I was an OK person, any time I even slightly felt negative about myself, I had an all-encompassing, supernatural reason to confirm my bias of wretchedness.
In the end, I never stood up for myself. Standing up for myself was evidence of pride. When I'd get yelled at or criticized or told-off, I just thought I deserved it. Sometimes I'd stand up for myself once, but after repeated attacks I'd assume the problem was with me. When I got called names, I'd think "There must be truth to this" and try to own it. It got me nowhere.
It didn't help that this brokenness seemed so virtuous in the religious circles I worked in. I heard so many sermons from so many different pulpits that seemed to back up this message, that I was horrible and only "worthy" if Jesus covered my sins. Being a "slave to Christ" was an ideal that I heard many times, and "turning the other cheek" was seen as a prime directive. Although I've moved on from those beliefs, they still sting in the back of my head every time I see someone act more patient, more generous, more thoughtfully than myself. These beliefs sit deep in my consciousness.
For the last few months, I feel like I've been redeveloping a bit of a sense of self. I'm a little more at peace with myself more than I have for a while. For the last few years, with therapy, counselling, reading, and vulnerable openness with friends, I feel like I've been developing a bit of a... me. I've been learning to accept that I'm allowed to have needs, to set boundaries, and to do things for myself now and then.
But then I realize just how far I have to go. I catch myself cursing myself, calling myself names, the same things I was called through all those years of supplicance. This will likely be a lifetime of deprogramming and trying to learn new systems. I need to set up better routines in my life and need to learn how to use my time more wisely, to motivate myself to do the things that make me happy. I think these things and then I curse myself again and it all starts all over again.
That's all. I have a long way to go because I started at a really low place. But I'm taking steps forward every day. So it'll be alright.
YouTube: ephemeral ideas
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