While I listen to the birds sing on day 14 of my new place in Jamaica, I can’t help but to wonder what they are saying to one another.
I am especially curious because as a comparison to humans, in the Bible you find a word picture describing how the birds don’t worry about what they will eat or where they will sleep. So I am thinking, are they discussing what they will be eating for breakfast or what they will to do today. In either case, it is a beautiful melody of sounds all working together, it is also the sounds of a new day.
A new day…there is something magical about a new day…and yet not so magical…magical because I am curious what will happen today…not so magical because things are not going my way and I do not like that!
What do you do when things don’t go your way? I am talking to the “fixers”, the “helpers”, the people people. You know those of us who love people but don’t really love people, it is this thing God gave us, this dichotomy, sort of situation, this Smeagol complex (if you don’t know, you betta ask somebody)!
For one, I pick up my computer and start typing, it brings immediate relief! Try it! It doesn’t mean you have to be a blog writer; but it is therapeutic! I can not tell you how many draft posts I have.
When things are not going my way, it typically helps me to turn my attention to the areas I do have control over. Those things which I can fix or have a part in fixing.
One last idea when things are not going my way, is figure out if there is something that I can give myself, or if there is any one or any thing else that can assist, ask for help! Helpers are not too good at asking for help, which is very ironic!
Anyway, today’s post is not about what you do when things don’t go your way although I think it is important to note.
If you know me at all, you know that I am very much into things that are not just so they become just or that which involves young woman in various seasons of life, but in general you know that I do not do well with injustice. I am pretty sure this is part of my work on Earth.
So to get to the point, I am pretty well travelled from my time in the military so I have seen some things, I have nearly died a few times in my lifetime and have certainly had my share of hardships and been through some pretty shitty times but what strikes me the most is injustice looks the same everywhere. No matter where you go there will always be injustice. Injustice reigns in America just look at our justice system, pun intended! How many are locked up for crimes they didn’t commit? (• Number of unsentenced inmates in prisons in the U.S. 2019 | Statista) Or those who could be rehabilitated through counseling/therapy, etc., and never had an opportunity for whatever reason. Anyway, my thoughts are not even about the justice system itself because that is a waste of time rather it is about the injustice that happens everywhere.
Injustice is no respecter of persons. People groups. It does not discriminate at all!
What do we do in the face of so much injustice? What is our part? I am working out some of these answers and the role I see myself playing especially here in Jamaica. But certainly, among my fellow countrymen and women! While I say under my breath in a grumbling voice, “I ain’t fighting for those people, I am going to hide in the bushes with the rasta man!” I could not actually do that. I would fight for what I believe in. I believe in people still!
I do believe in the human spirit. Not the American spirit. The human spirit.
And the intent is not to discuss crime or guns however I have much to say on that topic and the data supports my thoughts, but people… guns create more suicides than homicide…shall we start there…and I am not surprised. I would encourage folks to reconsider there issues with guns, they are not the problem! Just saying.
Check out the statistics: US Crime, Police, Prisons & More Statistics | 2022 State of the Union (usafacts.org) 5.6 million people in prison, mostly for murder. I tried to locate the stats of those who have not been convicted to date or proven guilty. Not everybody has Johnnie Cochran as their attorney
I believe in the people who will stand for the same reasons I would. Justice. Fairness. Kindness.
Injustice may prevail within systems that are built by people, yes, but injustice cannot prevail in the human heart where justice has preference.
Do any of these images ring familiar? Strike maybe, a nerve or two? Maybe not? But if you have discovered that you are a bothered or feel overwhelmed by the thought of sorting through so much information through news and social media outlets then maybe you are a Highly Sensitive Person or, an HSP. For the Highly Sensitive Person, (HSP) these images are familiar and not fondly so (Aron, 2019).
The HSP makes up a small percentage of individuals. Interestingly, common themes are seen in the personality and overall disposition of an HSP. Aron (2019), explains how conscientiousness and sensitivities to a variety of situations from relationship matters to loud noises, are examples (Aron, 2019). Digital media is among one of many context that may overstimulate the HSP depending on the delivery of the content, as one matter of discussion.
Digital Media Literacy is almost this live and learn lesson, literally, it seems most hold the mindset that when it comes to learning the ins and outs of technology, no matter the platform, it is like the ‘white elephant’ in the room. Do we talk about it, or do we ride it out, these may be the questions some parents ask themselves? Or what about the adult learners considering a job in a highly automated profession that for example leans heavily on data that most adult learners would not know how to interpret to inform professional practice and especially in a learning environment.
In most learning settings, being a digitally literate citizen (ISTE Standard) is a prerequisite, there is no longer a paper application to mail in or paperback textbooks for your college course. But digital media literacy is not just knowing “how” to use technology either or having documents online and sent electronically; it is also asking questions about the information, or decoding. Being a literate citizen of digital media requires inquiry, thinking critically, and being conscientious about the responsibility right within our fingertips (Project Look Sharp, 2022).
Decoding information can be done in a variety of ways whether through analysis in questions asked not for the answer but for inquiry, to think critically. Or how about asking how the message makes you feel, what effect does the information have on you? Lastly, not exclusive but for the sake of the time, how is this message constructed to trigger a certain emotion or reaction from the audience. Just a few examples of ways for the HSP to counteract the manipulated constructs of digital media (Project Look Sharp, 2022).
According to the ISTE Standards, Knowledge Constructors, will “critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.” (ISTE, Standard 1:3, n.d.). Therefore, then, self-awareness and awareness of the nuances of media, how it is constructed, the intended message, and so much more are important considerations for the HSP especially but as a learner in a digital world. The HSP must guard against overstimulation or, cognitive overload (Jong, 2009).
What is cognitive overload?
Cognitive overload is when too many cognitive processes are operating at lower levels rather than operating with fewer at higher levels (Gallagan, 2013). For example, if you there is too much text on the screen this can create cognitive overload. Consequently, hindering working memory where knowledge is no longer constructed. Remembering that cognitive overload impacts the workings of actual knowledge attainment and working memory (Springer, p. 23, 2013) is important to the HSP and educators of potential HSP’s.
Practical tips for educators. If we recall, media constructs information to influence the reader depending on the intent or motive of the creator (Project Look Sharp). Thus, one way to avoid cognitive overload is to design learning material differently. Construct digital media, with room left for the HSP learner to explore ways to decode and break down all the information. Furthermore, create curriculum that respects different learners. An example of this for the HSP would be pressured in a classroom setting, while being watched by peers or evaluators to perform certain activities but with background noise of their peers talking and giggling. This would be cognitive overload and lessen the learning experience for the HSP (Springer, p. 22, 2013).
Practical tips for the HSP when navigating digital media:
- Decoding with questions – check out this handy resource.
- Think critically, stop, calm down and then take in the information one bite at a time (Technology & the Interrupted Brain).
- Limit the amount of media intake in all formats but especially digitally (Aron, 2017).
Finally, think on what Aristotle said about learning,
Aron, Elizabeth. (2017). The Highly Sensitive Person. Broadway Books.
Galagan, Pat. (2013). Technology and the Interrupted Brain. cqtus-Technology_and_the_Interrupted.pdf
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). ISTE Standards. ISTE Standards: Educators | ISTE
Jong, Ton de. (2009). Cognitive Load Theory, Education Research, and instructional design: some food for thought. de Jong Cognitive Load (1).pdf
Project Look Sharp (2022). Categories and Samples Questions for Media Decoding. Key-Questions-for-Decoding Dec-21.pdf
Day 5 in my new officially official 😊 house in St. Ann’s Parish, Jamaica. The smells of burning at nights and in the morning are just as familiar as the coffee churning every morning in downtown Jacksonville from the Maxwell House coffee plant. The coffee smells each morning from the Hubbard Street house were only supplemental to the lovely smells of my own coffee percolating. And occasionally as we are still quite close to the main highway here in Jamaica, I hear fast cars and bikes racing by and big Mack trucks blowing by with their steam powered horns that get your immediate attention no matter what you are doing. The frogs that lull me to sleep at night with the cool “winter” breeze (about 72 at night with mid percentages of humidity) are one of my favorite parts of Jamaica.
The cool breeze runs through the house. I can see the leaves of the mango trees blowing in the wind; they remind me of home, like home, my cousins, especially David, he loved mangoes… I can remember family dinners when we were little, the cool evening Florida breeze as we wreaked havoc through the streets of north St. Pete with our hide-n-go-seek and cops and robbers games. Jamaica is like home.
Then there is the money system, the injustice, the economics, the rat race, and on the macro level remnants of years of wanting more for its country as it slightly eludes the Jamaican people each time.
She is an example of the Jamaican heart, the Jamaican way. I am so excited to learn the culture more and more each day. I enjoyed our walk to town yesterday for the first time alone – two white girls with our carmel skin and curls, hearing whistle after whistle and “pst” after “pst,” nonetheless, there is respect. No harm, just enjoying what they see. People are complicated enough already…
But when you add other characteristics of Jamaica, like culture you see something very cool! The teacher in me must explain “culture” a bit further. Culture happens on different levels. There is our immediate family culture (what we experienced and learned from those in our immediate home). Community culture, your neighborhood and other family members and close friends, perhaps. Work culture is developed within professions but more influential would likely be the culture experienced with specific employers. Finally, and only to serve as a brief explanation of the ways that culture influences, the final level of culture would be your place of birth. The country you call home. The place that has formed the parts of you that make your people group different than another.
Jamaica is quite different from America. America may be accused of lacking culture, it is not particularly distinct in culture like Jamaica, and has been called a melting pot – various people groups contributing to the diversity of the “United” States of America by adopting various cultures. This is very different from more collectivist countries like Jamaica. In my experience, this can make assimilating challenging. People are people… people change, assimilate, evolve, and yet still there spans a bridge that connects all of humanity no matter how different. At least that is what I have discovered so far in my travels. And that is love – at the end of the day we have all the same needs – being known and knowing.
As I spoke with a special person last night, under the stars, literally! We talked about what matters and keeps a relationship. He asked what I believe keeps a relationship together. My answer was textbook A+++, “Love and Respect, of course,” I said, with complete confidence he would agree. He di, but, he his point was the first one. Love! Of course, and I do believe that love can and will indeed conquer all! Yet somehow, I felt so shallow and unlovable to give such an answer, because the words are easy, living it is another, especially when loving requires sacrifice.
In a world where inequities reign, and where often the greater of two evils must be chosen, there still can remain the simplicity of loving your neighbor. May we all have the same fighting spirit as the little old Jamaican lady welcoming us to Jamaica!