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The Disconnection Myth (A Working Idea in Progress)
“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The power that connection holds in our lives was confirmed when the main concern about connection emerged as the fear of disconnection; the fear that something we have done or failed to do, something about who we are or where we come from, has made us unlovable and unworthy of connection.” – Brené Brown Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
If I heard anything in college it was the phrase “it’s all about connections.” I often wondered how in the world I would find my way when I couldn’t nail down what I wanted to do with my life long enough to make the connections it seemed I so desperately would need to get in the door. The what of my path was always, (and still is) a bit tricky and makes me feel uneasy sometimes but the why on the other hand was never an issue. I always knew it was about people. More specifically, I always knew it was about helping people. It was about the constant pursuit of living for others, beside others, with others. It was about bridging the gaps between people and the hope of leaving the world a speck better than when I entered it. It was about connections. This truth still exists. It is still one of the most important factors to finding, and becoming our best selves. It is still all about connections – it’s just that the definition of the word has changed. And that is a good thing, a really good thing. We have the chance to flip the script. To shift the paradigm. To make the good the only – and connections is how we are going to do it. It is no longer just about who you know, who your parents know, where you were born, where you went to school. All of those things are factors, yes but they are not the deciding factor. They no longer have to make or break you, or your path. All we have to do is become connected locally, globally, and digitally, person to person; in all of those spaces. I find myself spending a lot of time thinking about connections- and a lot more time in the world of education defending my stance on the critical need for people (all people) to be connected locally, globally and digitally. I am constantly asking a lot of questions about what it means to be connected and am usually most drawn to how we are connected to each other, what is created because of those connections, and the illusion that connection is a privilege and/or choice. But before we get into any of that we have to start with the why of it all. Why do we desire, seek out, and identify through connections? Because connections are the thing. The fear of disconnection disappears when we realize not only are we all worthy of connection, we are all capable of it on more levels than were ever humanly possible. So go ahead: get connected. Even more so than that, embrace connection. I dare you. Stop believing the myth that we are simultaneously becoming more disconnected as our world is allowing us to be more deeply connected in every aspect of our life. The majority of our students have already figured this out whether or not you decide to join them, but I’m betting on the fact that most of them hope you will.
The Connected Society Demands Connected Classrooms
Public schools were created to normalize people to work for those in power during the Industrial Revolution over 100 years ago. That revolution is over. That need is over. The assembly line has changed – and that is a very good thing for all of us. We have a new revolution. We have a new need. We make things differently now. We, the people of today, are a part of the Connected Revolution. This revolution demands authenticity, empathy, generosity, and making things that will change the world for the better – for all of us. If we want to catch up to our culture we have to create classrooms that will provide our young people the space and support to become the people they need to be and the people the world needs them to be. None of that can happen until we connect to ourselves and to each other. Let’s start building those connections today.
Read more about how young people of Youth Converts Culture, Jonathan Carlisle and Javarius Jones, are continuing to work and grow through youth fellowships with IDEA- Institute for Democratic Education.