I was greatly moved by this wonderful choral work performed by the Voice conducted by Gareth Malone at the Brit Awards. It got me thinking about the multiplicity of current and historical creative inputs into what for me was an uplifting and emotionally engaging experience. The composer who wrote the song and music. The orchestra and choir who interpreted and performed the work. The staging of the performance. The creation of the choir in the first place bringing together so much talent and the enormous amount of individual preparation and the choir as a whole to master this medium. When we experience a performance like this we only witness the tip of the creative iceberg - one moment in the creative lives of many individuals but it represents the integration of so much creative thought and disciplined action by so many people over a long time in order to invent the experience. Creativity takes time to develop.
My daughter's wedding in Italy had been planned for over a year. We were going to use the opportunity it provided to get the whole family together for two weeks. I found a villa that accommodate our three families and we looked forward to spending time together. Unfortunately my son's illness through late June and most of July threw a 'spanner in the works'. Neither he nor his mum could make the journey and my daughter's husband also had to work. In spite of the fact that we could not all be together as a family we had a very good experience. In particular, my two youngest daughter's were able to spend a lot of time with their older step sister, stepbrother and his wife, and their four nephews. They were stars helping out wherever possible. I witnessed a side to their character that I had not seen before. In turn they were able to bond with B, S & J and the babies and gain some valuable experience in looking after infants. The wedding itself was a wonderful experience in a wonderful setting at times it felt like a carnival. The occasion forced me to look back on my daughter's life and it gave me a chance to tell the world how proud I was of her.
World events come in all shapes and sizes but the Olympics - especially when they are hosted by your own country are pretty big and sustained. Of course I love sport and having been sporty as a youth I can relate to what these elite athletes are going through and appreciate something of the dedication, commitment, sacrifice and pain they have gone through to prepare themselves for their moment.
I can honestly say I have been blown away by the spectacle from the opening ceremony which filled me with pride through all the drama as it unfolds. Not retrospective analysis but raw gut feelings to what is happening or has just happened involving the people who it is happening to. Having the time to follow multiple events on the BBC internet service I have been totally enthralled by the drama and the spectacle. I also managed to experience two events - football and volley ball.
There is no doubt that the media have a huge role to play in engaging people in the Olympic experience especially for people who are unable to directly experience an event. The BBC coverage has been exceptional - through the profiles of the athletes I have learnt about them as individuals - their families, their sporting history and what it means to them and the coaches who encourage and help them perform. Through the events we learn about the different sports and what individuals have to do and of course we witness people performing at the highest level.
I expect I'm no different to anyone else when I witness - albeit through the BBC - someone winning an event in the Olympics. On every occasion I experience a rollercoaster of emotions that begins with willing people on and then there is an overwhelming feeling in which tears well up and I connect with the moment being shared by athlete and audiences all over the world .. It is an amazing feeling of happiness, pride and gratitude for someone who has achieved their dream after devoting their life for this moment. And they share their overwhelming joy and thank all the people who have helped them and made sacrifices too.. And I can't help but be moved and feel uplifted as I experience this wonderfully human feeling over and over again.
Laura Trott just after she won gold in the cycling rejoicing with her family.
But what about the downside of the emotional rollercoaster? The side that is not joyful but broken-hearted. Thanks to TV we also witness the total dejection of people who judge themselves to have fallen short of their goal, who perform well below what they are capable of doing or who injure themselves in competition. We see interviews of people who have given everything and were piped at the post like Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase in their dramatic lightweight double sculls final when they led all the way until the last few metres and were beaten by inches into the silver medal position. They were barely able to talk because they were physically shattered and choked with emotion. And our empathetic brains kick in again as we share their utter devastation and empathise with their situation.
And I'm sure the memories will live on until I can remember no more and just as I was inspired by Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovet in the 1980's many young people will have been inspired by the performances of participants in these games and their influences and effects will be immeasurable.
I haven't felt like writing anything for a few weeks... in spite of spending a week in Spain on holiday.. I know its because I felt in mood that I have only ever felt once before - when I was trying to come to terms with the knowledge that my wife was going to die.. That's the only way I can describe it and I just did not feel like writing anything positive. The source of course was thinking about my daughter and her small babies struggling to be given a chance to live a normal fulfilled life, and the news that one of them may have suffered some brain damage at some point in his early life with all the anxiety that brings.. Actually not 'might' but according to the doctors who have had little positive to say - 'will'. What has made me more positive and happier than I have been for many weeks was the babies coming home and seeing my daughter happy again and seeing these two little identical babies guzzling their milk. a.nd being loved to bits. And more than anything else the hope that my daughter was given by a physiotherapist who on examining them before they were allowed to go home, said that alfie was behaving like any other baby.. Just a few positive words was all it took to rekindle the spark of optimism.. that we all need to live our lives...
Sunday June 24
Every parent knows that the thing that they most want for their unborn child is to be healthy and when you are told that your newly born child may not be - it is an unbearable burden. Over the weekend my daughter learnt that when one of her new born twins stopped breathing a week or so after he was born, he might have suffered some damage to his brain. I cannot pretend to comprehend how she must have felt all I know is how I felt and she and my grandson have not been far from my mind ever since. At such times we realise that life is not just about development in a positivistic sense. It's about coping with things that fundamentally turn your world upside down, that require love and empathy in a profound way and I ultimately providing practical help and support wherever and whenever it is needed in ways that you never imagined before. This is profound mental and emotional adjustment within a set of relationships that lie at the centre of your life. As a parent it has hard to discover anything that is good in such a situation until you see the way your daughter starts to cope with the worst situation she can imagine and becomes positive and hopeful again. It is a lesson in the resilience of the human spirit and the profound love a mother has for her child or as she calls him - her little angel.
As a committed lifewider I'm a firm believer in the principle that what you gain from an experience is proportional to what you put into it. One of my failings perhaps is, if I'm busy, I don't try things for long enough or put enough effort in to appreciate the value in something. I had made my mind up to put effort into our twitter week long conversation even though I was quite busy. And looking back over the week I can see that I did learn lots of new things. I knew next to nothing about how to use twitter before I started and the practice I had had only confirmed my prejudices so I suppose I was quite sceptical about its value to me. But I can now appreciate some of the value in twitter (thanks to the people who helped me - Nick, David and Jane in particular) and how I can incorporate twitter into my personal learning strategies
1) Knowing next to nothing at the start it is easy to see that I now know something.I am now confident in composing and posting messages and being able to search for people and topics.
2) I gained some new experience in trying to engage people in the twitter conversation and in setting up the invitations on the website.
3) I have to say that I found the form of conversation frustrating and I didn't think I progressed my understanding of LWL beyond what I already knew. In fact I found some of the ideas confusing I think because I was not appreciating the contexts in the minds of those offering the ideas. But I acknowledge that others did seem to get excited by things that I wasn't able to appreciate so there is value in witnessing how others are inspired.
4) Which takes us into the affective domain. We all look for inspiration and I posted a question on a Linked in forum this week relating to what inspires us. I could clearly see that some of the posts that were made on twitter seemed to inspire people and I did towards the end of the week (see below) experience some inspiring moments. So I can now appreciate that posts made in twitter can be a source of inspiration. * I'm also trying to engage with linked-in so I have been able to make comparisons between twitter and linked in and see how twitter posts are used in linked in.
5) The event introduced me to new people and their work which was important new relational knowledge and off-line I approached one person with a view to trying to engage them as a supporter of and contributor to our work.
6) I took the trouble to search out blogs that provided concise and useful knowledge about twitter so began to use codified knowledge and personal wisdom gained from experienced users. Twitter now began to make more sense to me because I have had the practical experience of trying to use it (see attachment)
7) By Day 5 (thursday) I was beginning to adopt an exploratory approach - forcing myself to go beyond the conversation. I was not so interested in what people were saying in the conversation as the links to video's and blogs that people provided. I started to follow up links e.g #learning that one of the participants was providing. And then did my own searching for messages that looked interesting following up the links in them. I came across David Gerteen who I was aware was a well known thought leader. L clicked on one of his links and it took me to a great website with some excellent video speaker content - now I realised that by following links that looked meaningful I could find resources that were useful to me - my work and expanded my understanding. I began to see for the first time the value of twitter from the perspective of incorporating it into a personal learning strategy. But I had to invest quite a lot of time to get to this stage of enlightenment.
8) Then moving from links to people I identified one or two people who seem to be productive thought leaders in fields that I am interested in and began to follow them so on Friday morning I spent 20mins checking up on links provided and found some interesting resources. So I can see the value of following and hopefully if you post things of interest to others - of being followed.
So all in all I have developed through this experience some useful experience-based insights (some knowing how to), acquired and made use of existing codified knowledge, gained some very valuable relational knowledge, identified and connected to some thought leaders that I'm sure will inspire me, improved my media literacy ( a little), and I can now see how I can incorporate twitter into a personal learning strategy. In other words, through taking the time to engage in activity through which I might learn something new, I have shifted from being ignorant, sceptical and having no competency in using this technology to a position of relative enlightenment and having some new capability, confidence, interest and belief. And I have overcome my prejudice and scepticism.
Not bad in 5 days!!
APPLYING MY LEARNING 19/05/12
Learning about something and then enacting what you have learnt are two different things. On Saturday morning I added a twitter button to my blog and made myself spend 20mins checking out #Learning and found a really interesting link to Charles Jennings blogs. Its an area of learning and development I was not aware of and I have read his articles and re-posted one of them on the Lifewide Education website. The proof of the pudding is in the eating then I have eaten twitter and it tastes good. I was also pleased to see this post by David Roberts which showed that someone had taken an interest in my learning.
David C Roberts @DavidCRobertsVery telling blog post by @lifewider1 about a learning exploration on#Twitter http://www.normanjackson.co.uk/scraps-of-life-blog.html#learning #heutagogy #LW1 #PhDchat
I often say that we are who we are because of all the experiences we have had and the meanings we have chosen to create for ourselves through those experiences. Today is a special day for me and my children. Its thirteen years since my wife Jill died of cancer at the age of 48. It's also true that you never stop grieving for and missing the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. They remain an integral part of who you are for the rest of your life. Indeed, one of the reasons I have tried to live a positive and fulfilled life since she died was to try to honour her. Had she lived she would have seen our three children grow up to become fine young people, she would have enjoyed two of them getting married and the third talking of marriage and enjoyed our grandson and the thought of twins on the way. She had that rare gift of being able to get so much enjoyment from the smallest incidents of life - like a cup of coffee and a chocolate biscuit. She taught me to see the joy in the simplest of moments. Whereas I complicate life she simplified it to the essentials and enjoyed it for the sensual experience it is. She helped me see that it is the simplest of things in life that are worth living for.Generally I am able to be positive abouit most things and people often comment on my enthusiasm, energy and positivity but there is nothing positive about losing the one you loved. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself and my loss, at other times I experience intense feelings of guilt that I am alive and she is not. I tell myself that she would have wanted me to try to live my life to the full and I know she would think I had done the right thing to marry again and try to be a good step father to my three children. But I am not religious so I have no concept of her awareness being in another place and that makes me very sad sometimes. I have to comfort myself with the thought that her spirit lives on in mine and of our children. Perhaps all I am doing is really a tribute to her.
My wife knows how I feel because she feels the same about her husband who she lost when he was only 35. We are united by a shared experience that has profoundly shaped us both.
These two pieces of music to express how I am feeling - when I am feeling melancholy I love to listen to the Chinese erhu. Jill never saw the film crounching tiger but here is some of the music from the film that really touches me. The second is Jill's favourite ever song - fields of gold by sting. The first makes me feel unbelievably sad the second reminds me of our happiness.
To develop my understandings of how I learn and develop through all parts of my life by recording and reflecting on my own life as it happens.
I have a rough plan but most of what I do emerges from the circumstances of my life