~ Ora na azu nwa ~
Fab!Hubby and I have been blessed to spend our adolescent, young adult, and early marriage years within a support community full of love, acceptance, safety and diversity. This group of friends, guides, and mentors are not necessarily our family… they are the people we chose to love us and guide us in our transition into adult hood, married life and parenting… and these are the people that now make up the village helping to raise our children.
Karl and I have often talked about how there is no way we could live the life we have without the support of our village. We as a family – each of us individually – are better off with the collective influence and love we find within our village.
I, as a mom, would not be as happy, inspired, grounded and loving if were not for the help and guidance I find within this group. Grateful is the word to describe how I feel… but I think it would have to glow and blink and leep off the screen and hug you and leave a trail of glitter behind to really do justice in describing how grateful I am to our village.
I work within the world of marketing, PR, design, social media… and at the root of it I spend a heck of a lot of time online. I got started building sites to pay for college and left with a degree I have yet to use professionally, a love affair with the web, and the know-how to land a job you couldn’t even go to school for. And here I am – 13 years later – still in love with the web… and man, has it changed.
There are people who will say and studies that will prove that the amount of time we spend engaged with multi-media is disconnecting us… and I think that there is truth to that… I believe there comes a time to turn the cell phone off and actually be at the table having dinner with a friend – the world can wait. I also believe, passionately believe, that the Internet is a tool bringing us into connection with each other in ways that 10 years ago were hardly imaginable.
This past springs post by Her Bad Mother is an amazing example of this… here is one woman, writing one blog post, that connected moms all over the world… if I EVER had a moment where I felt alone in the world of mothering this would certainly help me to see I am in good company. (Yes, she had lots of inspiration and help… that’s the point of a village)
Call me a bleeding heart liberal, or a hippie, or a new age-er, or a pie in the sky ridiculously, hopeful optimist… I believe the Internet will help to heal the world. I see it give disenfranchised groups a voice, I see it help inventors and entrepreneurs with world changing products find their niche, I see children here in the US and in remote villages across the world connect to each other and to the whole wide world, I see people who would never cross the room to talk to each other for all the things that make them different – connect online for all the things that make them same.
I for one have found healing around a miscarriage, hope when my brother was deployed to Iraq, peace in a recipe that makes my dinner hour less hectic, laughter on days when I wanted to turn my back on the world, inspiration on days the blank canvas was overwhelming, serenity on days of turmoil, chore charts on days I wanted to pull my and my kiddos’ hair out for the toothpaste on the counter AGAIN… I have found beauty and heartache, joy and sadness… I have found lost best friends from high school… and quirky new favorite artists.
I see the Internet as this amazing tool of serendipity, connection and healing. Sure – just like the twice the size of Texas – floating island of trash in the Pacific (which you can see thanks to the magic of them there inter-webs) – there is a ton of crap online. And just like life – I chose to give all my energy and focus to the good in it.
This week is the Mom 2.0 Summit – and I am moderating a panel where some very lovely, smart, connected women will be sharing about their experiencing with cyber-villages. If you are attending the conference – I look forward to seeing you in the panel and connecting with you and hearing your thoughts on cyber-villages. If you are not attending – I would love to read your thoughts right here… leave a comment… tell me what ya think… share one of your favorite experiences from your online support community. I wanna read ’em!