Reading the book Too Big To Know, by David Weinberger, was one of those moments that helped me see something I already knew in a slightly different light and that sparked a whole new train of thought. I love these moments.
The book is a look at how the Internet is changing the view of knowledge. I highly recommend the book, but I want to discuss the most obvious point from the book. Abundance.
As David Weinberger points out, we have had an abundance of information for a long time. Have you read every book in your local library? Have you read every book you have bought or downloaded? Neither have I. What the Internet does is make that abundance faster and in different forms: articles, videos, apps, music, and opinions.
School is out for the summer, so I’m going to approach this idea from a dad perspective. Through this example I hope to express how abundance can be a great thing for learning.
Question, what does “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, Yoda, and a Tom Brady rookie card have in common? Answer: My sons and how they come to find interest in things.
My two sons are 11 and 9 right now. And because of the abundance of the Internet and technology, I have been having a blast sharing my interest with them. One example is music. Right now my oldest son is into Harry Connick Jr. and 80’s music, while my other son is listening to the songs “Good Life” (One Republic) and “Believe” (Cher). They use Grooveshark to create playlists to dance to, or to have as background music as they play animal tag with their sisters.
My oldest son’s interest in 80’s music comes from the video game series, Just Dance. His interest in Harry Connick Jr. comes from the movie, Dolphin Tale, which Harry Connick Jr. has a role in. I have some of his CDs, but my son has been checking out other CDs from the library.
When my second son bought his iPod, I put some music on it he might like. The music on his iPod has grown from his own interest and suggestions from me. One of our favorite songs is “Closer To the Edge” by 30 Seconds to Mars.
We cheered on the Celtics (I am a Kevin Garnett fan) in the Eastern Conference Finals together because of trading cards and the NBA 2K11 video game. My second son’s favorite basketball player is Shawn Kemp, who he has only seen play on YouTube videos and the video game. He does have a few of Shawn Kemp’s trading cards.
They don’t like everything I share with them, but what is incredible is the ability to share aspects of my life with them. And to share the original content, not just a story. My music collection is not unpacked yet, so I use Grooveshark to share a song they might like. Then if my second son wants the song we can buy it from iTunes. When my oldest son got the part of Winthrop in The Music Man last September he used YouTube to study the role.
The abundance we have can be a powerful aspect to our lives. Yes, there are some negatives, but that is for another blog post. My sons’ and I are building strong connections because we can share and experience life in a completely different way than before. History is important and powerful. Shawn Kemp is my son’s favorite player. He has never seen him “play.” But he knows a lot about him, plus he understands the history of the Oklahoma City Thunder (who he is cheering for in the finals because they use to be the Super Sonics) because of his interest.
When embraced, this abundance we have can allow us to naturally learn anything that interest us. It can build connections; between people, between today and yesterday, and even between who we were and who we can be, because it allows us to explore and investigate life in ways we couldn’t before. It gives me an opportunity to be a better dad, to be able to enrich my children’s life with more than just stories. I can share my history sometimes in its true form today.
I remember when “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” was a hit in 1984 and have shared stories from that time in my life with my boys. Today, the song is just as important because it makes us excited when it is one of the songs for the dance battle on Just Dance 2 (yes, I have won on that song a couple of times).
P.S. My second son made the collage this morning at home while I am at work. Connectedness, but that benefit of technology is another blog post.