Saturday, February 10, 2024

Carpe Diem


Sun streams through the prisms in my windows and casts dancing rainbows all over my downstairs. With the leaves off the trees, and the bright sun, I am living in a Pollyanna movie! As a kid I loved Pollyanna, and my very favorite scene was the one with the prisms in the windows. I knew right then I would want to do that someday in my grown-up house, and I did. It is amazing to look back and see so many events in my life which found a home in my grown-up world and my grown-up imagination. From theatre to poetry to prisms, all those things have ended up in my life.

I often say I was so lucky to grow up without the Internet or cell phones, etc. Of course, I love them, and they both play a prominent role in my life. As a child, they were not only unattainable, but not even invented yet! Wasn’t I the lucky one? Wasn’t I the lucky one to spend hours in my attic bedroom with just books and a table for writing? I wrote my first soap opera at ten. Yes, we all watched soap operas then while helping fold the laundry. I read my first adult book at ten, “Those Who Love,” by Irving Stone which set me on the path of historical fiction the rest of my life.

My own kids grew up on the cusp of technology, but we didn’t have any at the farm. There were Saturdays when I watched my three sons do what they love most of all. Abe was always tearing things apart and putting them back together. Adam could make anything from scratch and was often busy with building cupboards or knick knacks for the house. Aaron was usually fishing at the pond. All three were, of course, products of their childhood which took them into their grown-up years.

Now I watch the grandkids do the same thing. Holly is an avid actress. Brianna sings. The twins just play. Graham is getting ready for baseball and working at The Brokaw. Jonah just finished his first year of hockey at Indiana Tech where he is a freshman.

I remember the day, ten years ago, when he came home from the newly built Thunder Ice Arena to announce that skating was his life. I had to laugh and said, “Jonah, this is the first time you have been on skates! Maybe you should try it another time or two.” But the truth is, he didn’t need to do it another time or two to make that decision. He knew, and he was right. It has been exciting to watch his hockey career from an early lad to high school and now in college.

I talk about this because I am very much aware of the presence of technology in our lives. I love it as much as you do or anyone else including my students at Trine. I sit here in my cozy studio this morning writing on my laptop with my phone close by. Yes, I love it as much as you do! I do, however, know the limits of my technology usage. My students are not allowed to have their phone out during class unless, of course, they are expecting a call from home or a possible internship. For those purposes, I ask them nicely to keep it on vibrate and take the call outside of the classroom. I do joke that if anyone is a brain surgeon, they may leave it on at all times. I have yet to find a brain surgeon in my speech classes! They do complain a bit at first and always ask me what they should do instead. “Oh,” I say, “you can talk.” This takes a while for the talking to start. I always notice when the magic happens. Usually around the third or fourth week of the semester, I find myself saying loudly (with complete joy), “time for class…” as they are so chatty. They make friends, they build each other up and take care of one another. That is one of my teaching joys.

Technology is here with us, but let’s keep it at a minimum. Don’t miss snowman building, or cookie baking, or walking in the park noticing each little worm or frog that comes your way. And, if we can, let’s hang prisms all over our windows. Life is short. Watch the rainbows dance.

On this beautiful February day, carpe diem.

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