Old School in a Changing World


wordpress“What’s that?”

I handed the small device to my questioner and replied, “An eBook reader.”

“eBook reader? I thought you would be old school.”

Well, yes I do love the weight and feel of a book in my lap, especially on a cold, windy wet day when I can curl up underneath a blanket and sip a cup of coffee as I read. However, since I never seem to be able to coordinate my schedule so that those days actually happen, I’m open to change and new experiences.

At work we are rolling out a global digital initiative in which all of our print materials: ads, magazines, brochures, fliers, product instructions, safety information—everything printed is transforming into something electronic. At the same time, internally, our IT department is rolling out MicroSoft Office 2007 for our desktops and Sharepoint to replace our current intranet site. When I turn on my computer at work these days, I never know what I will get.

We started looking for stories about this kind of transformation or reinvention in nature. One of my colleagues found a story about the world’s oldest tree. The tree is a Norway Spruce located in Sweden, and it is 9,550 years old. Periodically it generates a new trunk from an extensive and sprawling underground root structure. So, it reinvents itself from itself—using the enormous and ancient underground root system and store of energy.

That little tree that has survived all kinds of challenges and change.

That tree has survived because it doesn’t throw away everything it has been; instead it builds the new structure using the old.

I have been thinking a lot about change. Our society continually changes, and the pace of that change seems to be accelerating (but that may be a matter of perspective). My husband and I are raising our daughter in a new era. Does that mean we ignore everything our parents taught us? No. It means that we use our family, our life experiences and our past to help our daughter grow up straight and tall in a changing world. She has an exciting world to explore and more available to her than we ever had. Our job is to give her the extensive underground foundation that she needs to be successful.

As for being old school, I long for the cold winter day when I can curl up under a blanket and spend a day reading a book with pages that I turn manually. When that happens, it will be a change for me—a change I can enjoy!

© 2009 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

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