I am so fortunate to be able to read the newspaper every morning. Without fail, I read about something that adds value to my personal or professional life and often touches my heart, either in concern about an ongoing social problem (child abuse, poverty, homelessness) or in enlightenment about new opportunities (a book to read, a movie to see, a place to visit). I do get weary of the constant bombardment of bad news about the wars in Iraq, Afganistan, and now Gaza. News about the economy are even more frightening as friends and neighbors are losing their jobs and bearing the personal toll of hard times. So, I skip through those stories in the paper and look for stories that enlighten my world.
This morning, I had extra time after reading the newspaper, and to my delight, I discovered the latest edition of the National Geographic. Check out "Your Shots" - my favorite is by Meaghan Davidson, 18, taken December 2008. The amazing photographs inspire my hope to learn how to use our digital camera and perhaps one day take a photo worthy of one "fav" on Flickr.
So, what enlightened me this morning? Check out the photo journal in the November 2008 edition of National Geographic about how a daughter and her her husband take care of her father, Herbie, who suffered from dementia and a Parkinson's-type movement disorder. The story of the "sandwich generation" and caring for loved ones who have dementia is powerful and beautiful, and the photographs are simply endearing. This story caught my attention because I didn't expect National Geographic to tell this type of story (not your typical story about elephants in Africa). I am grateful that the editors put this story in and are helping to raise awareness about the challenges facing the "Sandwhich Generation."
A second moment of enlightenment happened when I discovered the web site Talking Eyes Media. Here is a quote from their vision statement:
Talking Eyes Media is a multi-media public interest organization that creates and distributes compelling visual materials that advocate for positive social change. We concentrate on issues that are currently underrepresented in the mainstream media, and we use our books, exhibitions, websites and films to raise awareness and broaden public debate.Wow! Talking Eyes Media is a fantastic new resource for my teaching tool kit. I will be following it closely and using it in my social work courses at TCU.
Staying informed without getting overwhelmed is a challenge for me. Finding avenues for inspiration and enlightenment is an important part of my mental
health and ongoing professional development. What are your sources of inspiration and enlightenment?