Saturday, October 8, 2011

from the ground up & steve jobs

Growing up, my brother was the builder. I remember Tonka trucks and blocks covering the floor. I remember the vivid primary colored Lego towers mixed in with Army men and creations of bridges, cities, and spaceships. Sure, I would play every now and then, but I was the reader, the writer. I would rather pretend to play "school," grading fake papers and collecting pens. 

This fall, I am teaching a Lego class in my after-school program and I am LOVING it. In the class, we cover a different building topic each week. For instance, the kids worked in design/build teams to create bridges that we ended up loading with weights to see who had the strongest bridge. Then, one week, we built boats and raced them in a water table. Last week, we designed walkable cities and talked about what makes a community. The kids are having a blast in this class. They come in excited. They are ready to learn. And they are ready to work and create and show off their creations and projects at the end of the day. 

Not only is this class so super duper fun to teach, but it is so profound in terms of some life lessons:
...everything is built from the ground up
...creativity, innovation, and fun are key in any project you take on
...all it takes is an idea

I am a firm believer that we go through stages of thinking, planning, building/creating, and presenting. Very similar to the experiential education cycle, we are constantly in motion. Lately, I have been feeling I am in the "Building/Creating" stage in many areas of life. For instance, I have spend the past two days rebuilding my laptop from a fried hard drive. Luckily, with the help of The Man, I was able to recover my data from my old hard drive, but the majority of my Saturday was spent rebuilding Windows, Office, and a multitude of applications and downloads, which included restoring my iPod. Yikes! How exhausting. Luckily, I had some good healthy support, but I am drained, which leads me to my own reflections on "building."

When we expend quite a lot of our own personal energy on something for a large chunk of time, we can sometimes feel extremely exhausted and spent. It may come across as exhaustion, fatigue, irritability, or moodiness. Whatever it is, in can feel yucky. Below are some "Blissful Raindrops" that can help you get back on your feet again. Pick your feet up, hit up some Hulu or Netflix and just tune out. something outside. Walk, jog, skip, hike, anything.
...change your scenery. When we are in the same spot for too long, it can feel stale. Hit up that new place. and drink. Feed yourself, your soul, and your dog if you forgot. :)
...shut-down. Turn of that computer. Hide your phone. Ditch the Facespace. Even for a day.
...celebrate. Celebration is just as important as any step in the process. Buy yourself some flowers.

On another note, I was super sad to hear of Steve Jobs' death this past week. After hearing of his passing, I have spent my commute time thinking about his contributions, innovation, and pure eagerness to make a lasting impact on the world. The quote below is something I will be printing and hanging above my desk at work. We must listen to our inner voice. We must be willing to take a risk to be extraordinary in our life, in the work we do, in our relationships. Thank you Mr. Jobs for your work, your contributions, and your courage. 

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