Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Jabiz is one of these people I have gotten to "know" online, much more of a connection than a click friend-ship, but one forged through reading each other's blog posts (and peering into those windows of our lives, personal and professional), twitter, and amplified by meeting in person at Learning 2.008 in Shanghai. All of this continually reinforces the friendship with adding more connections. I am always impressed with Jabiz's passion for whatever he does, be it teaching, family, photography, and especially music. He also brings an honest view to it all, baring his pain, questions, and joy in one big mixing bowel. I was impressed by his blog post about performing last year in front of his school, and this is encouraging me to be more than a "play for myself at home" guitarist. So this photo is in Paonia, Colorado, where I am a few days into a 4 month road trip of the US and Canada, in many ways a trip planned by connections with other people I know like Jabizagain seeking those opportunities to amplify and grow the relationships that started online. I hope one day we get to jam in person.
140 characters is more than enough to change your frame of mind.
â€œCause personal, means personal" I think there are a couple of things that describe our relationship. I think we've both been purposeful in sharing ourselves as human beings. Our families, music tastes and more. We also share a love for exploring and extending the ways we use media and visuals. We both want to test the boundaries. I also appreciate that while we have quite different world views, we still connect and look past those and focus on what we share in common.
I've used Jabiz's examples (especially around his approach to the digital identity of his children) many times in my presentations to support a more open, realistic and proactive approach to digital citizenship. There could have been a number of other things he's inspired.
Sharing. It's all about sharing -- concepts, emotions, music, art, nuggets of wisdom, philosophy, good ideas, bad ideas, poetry, and hopefully some laughs. Why? I think our goal here is neither pithy or too lofty: we want to make positive change in the present and the future. You and I are both of the type who share honestly and often; we're not afraid to put our souls out there. And even if we are, we do it anyway because we see inherent personal and social value in these expressions. I'd even go so far as to say I think we both feel that we *must* express ourselves to feel human; it's a part of who we are. And even when what we share is in disagreement, I like that we push each other's thinking. In fact, I think that's by far the most valuable aspect of what we share in our relationship. Without that, we're just tossing stuff into the air.
We met online first. We collaborate always. We're friends from afar.
The idea behind this is my own personal growth as a human. You have really challenged my thinking about my role as a human and as a Christian. You don't pull punches and I appreciate the "brutal transparency" you have shown me. I chose me singing with my ukulele because you have shown me that we need to share our lives with our students and one of the ways I have begun to do that is with my music.
The attached picture I call Selecting the Images of Jabiz. Pictures brought about the first connection between Jabiz and me. They were photographs taken by his daughter Kaia (aged 3) and posted by Jabiz. Bill Chamberlain, Anthony Capps (my student) and I all encountered the photographs about the same time. Jabiz wrote about his concerns of having his daughter so public. His blogs, tweets, ideas and music have been extremely important to me and my students in EDM310
Teacher Troubadours different continents, different faiths same voice crying out for change.
I consider myself a man in motion, and I do my best thinking when I'm moving. A friend of mine taught me a meditation technique while on long bike rides: start with the letter "A," and go through every person you've ever met whose ﬁrst name starts with that letter. When you think of a person, remember how they came into your life, and why you are grateful that they were part of your journey. After you've exhausted the letter "A," it's time for "B." And so on and so forth. And since my view while I ride is often straight down at my feet, I sometimes visualize that person's face right there on my bike. I've spread this meditation over many months worth of training, and at "J," Jabiz came up. I've only met him in person for one hour, but that doesn't matter. He is a proliﬁc writer, and I write too. We agree on some things, and disagree about others. We agree on the power of educating girls, as our mutual love for the Daraja Academy demonstrates. We disagree on the nature (or even existence) of God, with his atheism as an obvious contrast to my Catholicism. But our agreements and disagreements don't matter. What matters is that for as long as I've "known" Jabiz, he has helped me to push my thinking forward. His words and ideas have proven to be fertile grounds for my own words and ideas. I often read something that Jabiz wrote, and found myself thinking about it on my long runs or bike rides for the next few weeks, and by the end, I may not have left a comment on his blog, I have grown. My thinking has grown. My ideas have matured. Again, our thinking is not always in line, but who wants people who always agree. I want people who test me and make me grow. And Jabiz has done that. And for that I'm grateful.
"From 140 characters to friendship."
Jabiz is one of only a handful of people I'd even consider doing this for. I don't feel like I have a creative bone in my body and I'm always so impressed by how Jabiz seems to float in and out of creative projects with apparent ease. He has a way of creating shifts - sometimes monumental, sometimes imperceptible - in how I look at things in this world. Sometimes it's about education. Sometimes it's about technology. Mostly, it's about real life.
Jabiz is someone with whom I love to: sing share take the mick fail unload compare parenting stories learn encourage laugh
I had a great time conceptualizing this photo. One of the first places I connected with you was over your Pearl Jam project, and I hope you recognize the shot I've taken here. Your honesty and willingness to share yourself was so inspiring, and echoes my fundamental belief in education. If I am to open my mind and the way I relate to the world to the thoughts and theories of my educators, I must trust them. I must see them as human flawed, struggling and beautiful. From there I can trust them enough to open my mind and heart to helping me negotiate this crazy world. I'm not sure what one-liner would sum up the world explorations I have gone on with you and your fine crew.... it's a tough one... Perhaps something with this? where all voices are welcome, everyone is valued for their contribution, and everyone who thinks its cool is invited or To trust my teachers - my guides - I must see them as human - flawed, struggling and beautiful.
As for a passage or a phrase, I thought of "hearts bleeding and ears ringing," because while being educators connected us, we seem to talk a lot about politics and music. I even considered holding a copy of a Dutch version of a Richard Dawkins book since we both comment a lot on atheism and religious delusions, but opted for one of my comics instead. It was hard to ďŹ nd one phrase or passage to sum up the online relationship we have, but then again 20 seconds probably doesn't cut it anyway
There are two things I feel compelled to say about my relationship with Jabiz Raisdana, both of which I have felt strongly since our first encounter, and each of which has inspired me to improve and expand the fruits of not only my evolving educational practice, but my personal relationships and artistic growth as well. One is that he has always seemed to exemplify the congruency in being an open and globally collaborative educator as well as the authentic living connective tissue that is indicative of an irreplaceable node in a human network. Whether engaging in debate or discussion of educational issues, responding to blog posts and comments, making introductions between teachers, students, artists and would-be friends, spreading the word about an open online course, or cooking up crazy musical schemes spanning continents and bringing together the diverse voices of a chorus of unmet friends, Jabiz is an indispensable friend and ally in the struggle to unify the roles of teacher and student into the singular role of learner. He gives graciously and continuously of himself, and I am one of the many people who have benefited from teaching, and learning alongside him. The other is that in much of our life experience - from travel and education abroad, to literary and musical influences and aspirations, to our serendipitous meeting across the international networks of blogging and Twitter - as young men we have seemingly pursued the similar goal in life to hold as truth that which emerges from the reflection and expression of our ongoing personal development and exploration of life, and live out what Hermann Hesse's declaration that, "where paths that have an aďŹƒnity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home."
A teacher in search of his/her own freedom may be the only kind of teacher who can arouse young persons to go in search of their own. Maxine Greene