It has been almost two months since my last post. Before I return to my personal learning network and exploring how parents can use web tools to connect with education, I need to write about why I’ve been quiet for so long.
Some time ago I wrote about curiosity and being an only child who read a lot of books and newspapers. That early love of current events, exploring opinion, and getting the facts was spurred by my father. He taught me many things and he shaped my personality in many ways.
And now he is gone. The loss came too soon. In less than six months a very active man with so much to give and so much to teach became very ill. The person who could fix anything finally had to put down his tools.
While much of what happened in early May is a blur, I do know that we could not have gotten through it without the help of our friends, neighbours, and close relatives. So many acts of kindness came our way – so many brought food – enough food to feed us for days, complete meals, no fewer than four full meals centered around beautiful baked hams.
Life does move on and so must I. In the last few weeks I’ve been able to catch up with piles of posts in my feedreader, peak into Twitter, update my Facebook page and listen to some great podcasts that I missed while I was unplugged. But most importantly, I’ve spent time connecting with family and friends face to face.
As much as I believe that technology can help us form new communities – groups of people who will help us learn, give us guidance and support, open our eyes to new ideas – our online network simply cannot replace our friends and neighbours. During a time of profound grief, when you need someone to sit in a hospital room with you all night long, or you need a shoulder to cry on, or you need a hot meal, it is those people who are close to you that will get you through.
So for all of us who are working hard to use technology to create and support online relationships – we must also remember to nurture our offline relationships. We have to be sure to take care of and connect with those people who will be good enough to bring the ham.