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Monthly Archives: August 2018

I attended a Kansas City CreativeMornings event on Friday, August 17, 2018 and the speaker was Katie van Dieren. Katie is a champion for community and the maker movement. She is the owner and curator of one of the world’s top indie craft fairs, The Strawberry Swing, and the co-founder of Troost Market Collective.

During her talk she mentioned this quote by Mark Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Twain and Katie, I believe, meant international travel.

While not of us can travel abroad, we all can leave our little corner of the earth and travel locally and come close to others who are different than us. I believe if we travel and come close, we can collectively, shed prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, learned this lesson from his grandmother, “You can’t understand most of the important things from a distance, Bryan. You have to get close” (p. 14). I love grandma wisdom!

I think by traveling to come close to the other, we can not only put to death prejudice, bigotry, and narrowmindedness, but we just might discover that people we thought were monsters are actually human beings who are creative and pregnant with possibilities and dreams. This has certainly been my experience. Might it be so!

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My daughter, Briana, convinced my wife and I to take a 30-day break or Sabbatical from Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Here are few things I learned:

(1) I was still drawn to those colorful app tiles on my iPhone screen.  But without active Twitter and Facebook accounts, I was less preoccupied or obsessed with my phone.

(2) I was less distracted.  How did I measure this? I read or finished more books. I completed and/or resumed reading four books: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Bryan Stevenson), No One Ever Asked (Katie Ganshert), I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness (Austin Channing Brown), and Brothas Be, You Like George: Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You? (A Memoir by George Clinton).  I also wrote a 5,500+ word draft of an essay in less than eight hours.  I suppose what I am saying is I was more productive.

(3) I can get along okay just fine without Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  In fact, I deleted my Instagram account.

(4) At times, I thought I was missing out on what was happening.  But I found other things to do: pittle in the garage, visit the driving range, imagine, journal, and rest. I feared missing important announcements.  But those announcements came via other channels (e.g., my personal email).

(5) A break from social media is a healthy move; a healthy move I highly recommend.

After this sabbatical, I hope not to be enamored or captivated by “likes” and I hope to take more frequent and shorter social media sabbaticals.