Skip to main content

Nearly Now

Space is a fascinating concept.  I don't pretend to understand the full conceptualization of "space."  What I do understand is that it is being redefined.  Space for our children includes physical space, which we grew up with and are comfortable with, and a new virtual space, which for many of us is much less comfortable.  This virtual dimension is as much a part of our childrens' worlds as the physical dimension is ours.

This virtual space may bring with it many exciting possibilities.  It also brings with it many daunting challenges.  Our children are living now in this new space, a space that exists right before the present, just before "now."  This is the space where they text, twitter, and update their Facebook pages; it's a space that is not quite synchronous to now -- it's "nearly now."  This space is a difficult space to occupy.  Children can be easily led to believe, or feel, they are safe, protected in this space.   In Learning to Change, Changing to Learn, the Consortium for School Networking, refers to this "nearly now" space as an interesting space, a gentle space, one that can allow research, reflection, repetition, one that's not so pressured.  Maybe this is so; however, I tend to think, especially because it is not defined, controlled, or protected, that this space has the potential to do great harm.  It can even be dangerous.  Learning to Change ...  ends with a statement that we are seeing the death of education and the birth of learning.  I'm not so sure about this either.  There is no doubt that our culture is in the midst of revolution, similar, I believe, to the last great seismic shift (see Empires of the Mind: A Virtual Revolution), but as with the last revolution we will begin to organize and effectively control these "new tools" of the revolution, just as we did the new tools of the Industrial Revolution.  It will take time though.  Until we have effectively managed these new tools, we have to protect and safeguard our children.

Schools have a responsibility to be counter-cultural institutions at times like this.  The culture may be quickly moving in one direction, but is it the right direction?  What are the true forces at play, driving all the different levels of change?  We must critically evaluate what is happening, ask ourselves why and determine the importance.  While we can't ignore progress and change, we can't afford to allow it to go unchecked either.  There are now countless examples, Choate being one of the most recent, where children are being harmed or harming. (Choate, by the way, handled the situation responsibly and directly).  It is essential to critique and monitor, to be agents that effect positive change.  Watch what your children are doing online, monitor their "virtual" social interactions as carefully as you do their physical ones.  Educate your children about this "nearly now" and just how quickly, suddenly it can become the "now."  They will not make that connection themselves.  To them, it's private, protected; but we know it really isn't.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Navy SEAL Bill Berrien '82 Gives Chapel on Service to Saint David's Boys

Former Navy SEAL and Saint David's Alumnus Bill Berrien '82 fascinated all during his Chapel Talk Tuesday morning to our seventh and eighth graders.

A SEAL for nine years, Bill was a member of two platoons in South America as well as part of a Joint Special Operations unit. He shared his SEAL Trident with the boys, talked about the intensity of training, and noted he remains close to many with whom he served.


Connecting his service to the values that Saint David's espouses, he encouraged the boys to always be students--curious throughout their lives, to find the best in everyone, appreciate setbacks, and to learn from failures. In the video above, he addresses the first.

He closed by planting these "seeds" for our boys to consider: that life is a journey to be embraced broadly with openness to a variety of opportunities; being a service leader is of utmost importance; the unknown should be embraced; and, finally, that the boys be their own best friend, compassi…

An Evening With Lidia Bastianich

On Tuesday evening, Lidia Bastianich, award-winning chef, restaurateur, television host and author, visited Saint David's to speak to the Saint David's Alumni Parent community and current Eighth Grade.



Interviewed by Alumni Parent Dr. Joseph Haddad for our Alumni Parent Council Lecture, Lidia recounted her youth in Istria when the once Italian peninsula shifted to communist reign after World War II, her two years spent as a refugee in Trieste, and her experiences after her family immigrated to America when she was eleven years old.


The boys were fascinated with her discussion about her family's escape from Istria and her life as a refugee and immigrant. She expressed her everlasting gratitude to the people who provided assistance to her family in Trieste and when they first arrived in New York. "I can't talk enough about the goodness of the people who helped us," she said. "I am where I am because of them."

As a highly successful person with…

Surf's Up for Horizons at Saint David's

Little can top catching a wave to beat the heat on an exceptionally hot summer's day.


Yesterday, as the temperatures soared into the nineties, the Horizons at Saint David's Eighth Grade class traveled to Rockaway Beach with their teachers for surf lessons with New York's premiere surf school, Locals Surf School. The boys have been taking swimming lessons through our program since their first summer with us in 2012.  At that time, they were were rising first graders, and our inaugural cohort of Horizons students.


Yesterday, they were ready to go, and, as these pictures show, they had a blast while learning a new skill.


This is the eighth year of Horizons at Saint David's, a six-week multi-faceted academic and cultural summer experience whose mission is to prevent summer slide in elementary school boys from low-income families. We began the program in conjunction with Saint David's 60th anniversary in 2011, as one way that Saint David's as an institution could…