Letting GO

Impartiality is one of the character traits that God has given me and continues to hone as I get older. Sometimes this causes people that I love very much to feel like I don’t have their back, so to speak. That is never my intent. Being impartial, to me, simply means being on GOD’s side. The side of truth.

Being impartial when the situation is personal and emotions are running high is much more difficult than when we are a third party. But this is when it is most crucial to step back and look at the situation as objectively as possible.

No matter how scared, angry, bitter, offended, hurt (or any other words you can come up with) we feel, attempting to  CONTROL  the outcome of a situation is futile. We need to let it go. The only thing we can do is INFLUENCE the outcome. And if we are not careful, we can have the polar opposite influence from the one we intended.

Let’s face it. No matter what we believe, where we live, what our profession, what season of life we are in; we DO NOT like to be told what to do. We do, however, have no problem telling other people what to do. Sometimes, the reason we do this is simply because we want something. We are thinking about ourselves. Sometimes, however, it is because we care about them. We see them teetering on the edge of a disaster. We will do whatever it takes to “talk them off the edge” and keep them from making what we perceive as a terrible mistake.

Would we REALLY do whatever it takes to protect them, though? Its easy to say “yes”. But what if it takes trusting God. What if it takes praying for His will?  What if the best thing we can do for them is to love them, without trying to control their decisions? What if….we need to wait at the bottom of the ravine  with open arms to catch them if they fall, instead of standing behind them up on the ledge, saying or doing something that may cause them to back away from us and over the edge we are trying so desperately to protect them from.

If we want to be a good influence on the outcome of a situation, the first thing we need to do is to separate emotion from truth.  Take a deep breath. Maybe two, or three. Try to put ourselves in their shoes. This doesn’t mean that we start thinking, “If I were in that situation, I would….”. They are not us. They do  not think like us. They do not have the same life experiences. We have to instead consider,  “If I were their age, and had their personality, and possibly been through whatever they have been through, I would….”

We need to listen more than we talk, ask questions that cause them to think a little deeper, and keep our advice to ourselves unless it is asked for. We have to let go of the feeling that we need to CONTROL the situation. 

I am learning that the better we get at taking this approach, the more the ones we love will actually seek out our advice. No, they won’t always take it. They won’t always agree. But they will be much more likely to let us in and respect what we have to say. And the best part of it all is that our relationships grow to a closeness we never thought was possible.


Understanding the basics

Part of my last job was teaching K-12th grade students Computer Information Technology. While I was teaching my students, I myself was a student at our local community college working on a Web Design Degree.

This combination of circumstances offered me a unique opportunity. The students that were coming out of high school were lacking what I consider to be a vital piece of the technology puzzle; the basics. Problem-solving and critical thinking are the root of the basics.

With the advantage of learning computers from the beginning, I learned CLI and Basic programming before GUI was even a thing (Fascinated with Electronics). And back then, the only place to get information was from the two three-ring binders that came with our PC (The first model released to the public by IBM). We did have a set on encyclopedias up on the shelf but they didn’t offer much information on this new technology that I had at my fingertips.

I know some of you younger readers are going to gasp when I say this, but if you can only imagine, there was no such thing as the internet at that time. I have often thought, being the knowledge junkie that I am, how overloaded my brain would be today if I had access to Google and YouTube when I was a teenager.

With what I did have available at the time, I taught myself DOS and BASIC programming. At the age of 19, I took my first college course – in BASIC programming, of course. I was already married and a new mom at the time, so I took the course through the mail. SNAIL mail (again for you younger readers, this is what we older people call the actual mail you send through the post office.). Email wasn’t really a thing yet either. Oh. And cell phones didn’t exist.

When I completed my final project, my professor had to ask me to explain where I got the information that I used to create a graphic Yahtzee-type game as my final project for his Introduction to BASIC class.

Taking college courses today with the kids coming out of high school, It seems that the large majority know very little about technology. Because the technology has advanced so much with GUI (graphical user interface), we are losing the knowledge of what is underneath the hood, so to speak.

There seem to be fewer and fewer kids going into the technology field. My daughter was one of those honored with the title of High Honors for her high school career. Sitting in the auditorium of our small, local high school, I watched as one student after another walked across the stage and announced what they planned to study in college. Sadly, out of well over one hundred graduates receiving the distinction of High Honors, I was able to count on ONE hand, the number of them planning to enter any kind of technology field.

If your child is obsessed with electronics, I think you would be doing your child and yourself a great service to encourage them to use that obsession in a positive way. Yes, they will most likely squawk about it at first, but in the end you many be very surprised at the outcome.

As a technology teacher, I would recommend starting the younger kids out with something like code.org. If your child is older, they may be ready for codeacademy.com. Help them learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Math, although dreaded by many, doesn’t have to be a drudgery. I love tutoring students in math. I really believe that math is a subject that everyone can be good at. It is very critical, however, to try different approaches in teaching it to cater to an individuals learning style. Parents dread math because it wasn’t explained to them in a way that made sense. As a result, they unintentionally pass that dread on to their kids.

One of my go-to supplemental tools for teaching math is Khanacademy.org. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it is a good place to start. Find someone who is passionate about math to mentor you or your child.

When my students were old enough (as early as 4th grade), I would begin teaching them, in my tech class, about binary and the concept of number systems and how they work.

With technology growing at such an exponential rate, critical thinking and problem solving, will benefit anyone entering the job market. Even if you aren’t entering the job market, I’ve heard it is a great way to keep your mind sharp!! 😉

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