Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sharing a moment

I experienced a moment yesterday. It had been a rainy day in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Annapolis. I was on my way to present a session in Pittsburgh. Despite the late afternoon hour, looking through the plane window led to nothing but dreary grayness.  Just before takeoff, rain smacked against the glass. Twenty seconds later, we were off the ground, and, in a couple minutes, we were at our cruising altitude of 9000 feet – rather low. However, I could see nothing but gray outside my window.

I looked down at my book. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw it. We had risen above the clouds. And, despite the fact that it was dark below us, we were surrounded by glorious sunshine. The wispy clouds truly looked like cotton candy. It was one of those heavenly moments. I couldn’t help but smile – for a very long moment. It reminded me that when life – health, jobs, relationships, school – get hard, it’s often just a bump in the road. It really can get better, and it often does.  I smiled for a good long time.

Even when we were back in the clouds, I smiled. That delightful moment reminded me that the sun really will come out again. And guess what? Today, it did!

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Kindle is for me.

Reading is fundamental - to my existence. I read all day long, without giving it a second thought. I read emails. I read news sites. I read facebook posts. I read the newspaper and even the banner that is sliding across the bottom of the screen of every news channel. Tweets contain links to more articles, blogs, and reports for me to read.
Each Friday, I look forward to the sections in the Wall Street Journal that have nothing to do with investing or business. Saturday mornings, it's the WSJ Saturday edition that I look forward to reading. If I'm lucky, I get to pore over the Sunday New York Times. Each newspaper arrives in a slim plastic bag on my driveway. Going out to get the paper is a highlight of  my morning.
I have walls of books in my home. It's not often that I crack one open. Only a few magazines and journals arrive in my mailbox. The Week summarizes short news stories from around the world. I get a variety of publications from Learning Forward. Readers' Digest chunks it just right. Although I rarely purchase a book anymore, I can't help myself. I have to get to a Barnes and Noble at least once a month.
Just the other day, I installed a tool on my browser toolbar to allow me to read websites from any computer or mobile  device. One of the options was to have it sent to my Kindle. I decided that I just couldn't do it. The reason I bought my Kindle was two-fold. When I was ready to read for pleasure, I did not want to be interrupted by email, news, or notifications. I simply wanted to read. Second, I wanted an inexpensive device that I could bring with me to the beach and the pool and read in full sun.
So, when I was given the option to save articles from the web to read later on my Kindle, I stopped. I sighed. I decided to make a clean break. My Kindle is for me - for pleasure reading. It's rare that I give myself the luxury of reading. Reading late at night lasts all of about 5 minutes. The book I'm reading now was downloaded by my daughter, who does not even remember downloading it. I never would have selected the book, but, it was there, and I was looking for a book. So, I "cracked it open," and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. My library fits in my pocket, and I can throw it into my suitcase at the last minute and be sure I can find a book to read. And, when it's on my Kindle, I'm certain that the book I'm reading is for me. I'm reading it for the pure pleasure of reading.
When children are asked how often they read, the number of minutes is astonishingly low. Is it because they do not count reading online as reading? Is reading Facebook posts reading? How about Twitter? If they do an online search on the steps needed to tie a bowtie, and then follow them, does that count as reading? How are they reading their news? Are they getting news flashes on their smart phones? If it is an intriguing story, they may then click on the notification and read the story to learn more. How many choose to read books on their smart phones, Kindles, or tablets? Suppose, when asked how much they read, these same children added all of these minutes together, how high would that number be? At the same time, much of this reading is disjointed. It does not replace reading a book, or even a magazine, from cover to cover. What does it all mean in the long run? As is so common these days, there are more questions than answers.                       

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring into action!

Spring has sprung in the Eastern part of the United States - during the infamous "standardized testing window." The great outdoors are screaming, "Come! Play!" Seniors are experiencing senioritis. How are you keeping your students motivated?

Photo by Virginia Glatzer