Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Two Problems

Today, I am facing two problems. First, a wonderful pile of books. Second, sending my son to Afghanistan.

1. The pile of books I hoped to read this summer is not shrinking. It is growing. My son (here is his blog) came for a quick 2 day visit before heading to Italy and then Afghanistan. We share a love for books, so we spent a long time in Barnes and Noble where we wandered and laughed - an amazing mental health time together.

2. Letting him go is next to unbearable. One way to do this is through distraction - Treat and I found a bunch of books to read. I found two I want him to read (Malcom Gladwell's Outliers and Tom Rath's Strengths Finder 2.0) and he found a cool work of fiction for entertainment worthy of a long haul trip to Europe in a few days. I found Glenn Beck's Common Sense and Richard Russo's Bridge of Sighs. Did I mention that I am also reading Katherine Howe's novel The Physick Book Diliverance Dane and David Sederek's When You Are Engulfed in Flames. The semester starts in 2.5 weeks. I am letting go of any expectation to have read all of these books and know that other books will certianly join the book pile (never ending).

The problem is clear. Too many books and not enough time. The bigger problem: letting my son go to the Army to do his job (defend our country), for which he is eminantly qualified and prepared to do in a very dangerous place.

There are no good solutions to these problems.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another Good Question

Last week, I was visiting the Tarrant Area Food Bank to see if we could place a social work intern with one of their social workers. TAFB's mission statement:

Tarrant Area Food Bank works to eliminate hunger in Fort Worth, Texas and 13

surrounding counties by providing food,education and other

resources to a network of hunger-relief charities

and their communities.

Did you know that 1/3 those served by TAFB are children? Read more here and get involved!

I was so impressed with the scope and nature of the important work done at TAFB, especially their Culinary Job Training program. After a very interesting tour of the facility, I
dropped in on the Executive Director. As we were chatting, he mentioned that his organization was beginning to explore how to use social networking tools, which immediately caught my attention. We talked briefly about how non-profit organizations can benefit from social networking tool and I told him about Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, which offers amazing content on this topic. (Beth's Blog is rated #1 for good reason!)

This intriguing question of how to use social networking tools continutes to challenge me. Here's another great question - How do we know if we are using social netorking tools effectively? Micah Baldwin shares excellent ideas about measuring influence in his blog post on Mashable - The Social Media Guide. He says we need to understand what influence means and how to become influential first and then how to measure influence in social networking. This helps me find ways to improve my use of social networking tools and gives me more evidence to share with skeptical colleagues who are not quite sure if Twitter, Blogs, FaceBook, etc have a place in social work. I'd love to hear your thoughts - see Comments below!