Swiftwater Journey

faith, culture, and growing up in a rapidly changing world

Digital Technology is Changing Us [everything] November 28, 2009

Filed under: Technology — billmacphee @ 4:50 pm
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Dr. Michael Wesch teaches at Kansas State University and is teaching us about participatory media.

I recommend two videos as starters – these are outstanding lessons on how digital technology is changing the way we learn and relate to one another.

The Machine is Us/ing Us [Final Version]

An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube – this one requires about 55 minutes but it is worth your time.




Helicopter Parents: The Backlash Against Overparenting – TIME November 27, 2009

Filed under: Parenting — billmacphee @ 11:28 pm
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This Time Magazine cover article caught my attention while I was browsing at Barnes and Noble bookseller tonight.

helicopter parenting

Helicopter Parents: The Backlash Against Overparenting – TIME.

Nancy Gibbs details a shift in parenting style–from helicopter to free range parents. Some are rebelling against our current penchant for over-managing and over-protecting every arena in a kids life.

One dad remarked on his epiphany after his son confronted dad’s determination to find his son an art tutor to help him draw even better: “He looks at me like I’m from outer space,” Honore says. “I just wanna draw’ he tells me. ‘Why do grownups have to take over everything?'” A significant part of growing up is learning, through discovery and mistakes, how to own the responsibility for our own choices.

Our generation of parents tend to miss the needs of kids in two extremes. One is to leave them alone way too much while we tend to our own agenda. The other is to micro-manage and over-control. Both result in a sort of abandonment of not only our core role as parents but of the child desperately needing our guidance and leadership toward their own autonomy.

Launching kids into adulthood happens naturally when we stay accessible through two way communication, flexible negotiation, and warm relationships.


The Art of Fathering November 25, 2009

Filed under: Parenting — billmacphee @ 3:56 pm
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I admit an honest truth: it’s tricky being a father today. Not because dads don’t desperately desire to succeed at their role, but because what we’re supposed to do is relatively unclear. But this just might be where the problem lies. Most of us dads fixate on what we can do and accomplish rather than what we are called to be.

Maybe the defining need of children moving toward and through adolescence is a close relationship with both mom and dad. This is where father’s get tripped up as we move into action and attempt to manage and monitor parent to child relationships. Developmental scholars label this relationship by the technical term of attachment. They emphasize that the most important aspect to this connection is the perception of the child, rather than the feelings of the parent.

Dads: cultivating a close relationship with our kids is more art than science. It is felt more than accomplished. What is vital is not how we perceive the connections are going but how our son or daughter feel and perceive the intimacy of their relationship with us. Here are several key ideas in developing a close attachment with our sons and daughters that I have tried to live out:

  • Be available: not when it fits my schedule but in a way that works for my child.
  • Be accessible: physically and emotionally. My kids need to feel that they have access to my time and your heart.
  • Be present: I’m trying to look my son and daughter in the eye when I listen. Distractions abound and we must fight the temptation to fake attention.
  • Be ready: look for and anticipate the moments when my children are open for me to meet their needs. Listen and look carefully for your teenager to articulate, maybe in an awkward or veiled way, a request for your help. Don’t pounce but respond with gentle help.
  • Be encouraging: I’m watching the language I use as I connect with my kids. Look for ways to build up as you guide your son and daughter toward healthy development.

I’m not a perfect father, but I love my kids, and am trying to father them more than fix them.