Posts Tagged ‘social media’
Today is Jan. 1, 2011– or 1.1.11
That’s a lot of ones: Day One; First Month; New Year and Decade.
Could this be a cosmic sign?
Could this be the year of the Power of One?
We can celebrate with fireworks, silly hats, black-eyed peas and sauerkraut. We can dress in yellow (for prosperity) or white (for peace) while throwing pomegranate seeds on the roof and making wishes for 2011. But, this new decade and new year will race forward–with or without us. In 365 days, it will become 2012, and then 2013, 2014…. The cosmic universe doesn’t care about individual people.
Actually, that is a comfort. I don’t want to be Atlas holding the world on my shoulders. I don’t want the responsibility of saving the world, that’s too much.
Systems Theory–Circles of Life
Bronfenbrenner’s systems theory states that what affects one part of the system affects all the parts of the systems. In previous posts on the circle of life and family reunions I’ve talked about his embedded systems (like Russian Dolls). The individual is in the center circle, surrounded by the family, surrounded by the community and “systems.”
Inner Circle: Aaron
When Aaron, my son with the labels of autism and developmental disabilities was growing up, I made specific dream plans and goals to include him in an inclusive community.
They were audacious plans. But we had IDEA and ADA and hope. And Aaron was young and had lots of years ahead of him. I thought the values of ALL people living and working in an inclusive community would keep evolving into a more accepting world. I thought I could count on the professionals, the local, state, national agencies and organizations to help.
But those systems don’t exist for adults with disabilities and/or their families.
Aaron is 36 years old. For adults there is no mandate or law saying he can get services. So we have watched as his behavior and communication have deteriorated. And, frankly, I have even had trouble envisioning a new dream plan.
This past year has been a painful experience watching the residential and vocational companies NOT want Aaron–but want his Medicaid Waiver funds.
The opportunity on 1.1.11 is to dream again. It’s time to use the Power of One.
The Power of One: For Aaron
Aaron recently started a day program with Goodwill/Easter Seals five days a week and they are providing him with a one-on-one staff person three days a week. That is the brightest hope we have had for years. So YEA!
Aaron still has a great roommate and one loving caregiver who has been with them for over 7 years. YEA YEA!
And Tommy (Aaron’s brother) and his family are now living near us, so our family can get together more often. YEA YEA YEA!
That is three wins. As this year ends, those are the blessings I see and celebrate.
Dream plan for Aaron–2011:
Aaron will be happy. He will have people around him who love him. He will have choices and do interesting things. Have friends. He will be able to communicate when he wants/doesn’t want something. He will be safe.
Pretty basic. Nothing specific. But again, these are audacious goals.
So, maybe everything you and I do this year will not make much of a difference in the cosmic scheme of things. But using the Power of One, I can do something to make a difference in my son’s life.
In the example of Goodwill/ES, it was the Power of One times 4. Aaron’s Dad, me, our Support Coordinator, and the leadership of Goodwill/ES. We kept at it, and it happened.
The Power of One: For Community
Using the Power of One, I will continue my blog,ClimbingEveryMountain.com.
I will try to entertain, encourage and give information to grow a community that cares about adults with disabilities.
Thank you for being with me on this journey. It has been an amazing first six months for Climbing Every Mountain. Together we can build a better world and community–one person at a time.
Old Bronfenbrenner wouldn’t recognize his embedded systems, but in 2011 we are using the social media tools (blog, Twitter, Facebook) and reinventing his circles of love and support that will ripple out to touch the future. The people in the circles are not our next door neighbors, they might live on the other side of the world.
In 2011, is social media and technology the solution?
Chris Brogan (ChrisBrogan.com) is a social media guru who suggests the future is going to include websites, blogs, forums, videos and online communities which help us connect with like-minded folks to get the information and emotional support we need.
His new company, 501 Mission Place, is helping non-profits use social media and become more effective. Perhaps you know of a non-profit that could use some social media help.
But I wonder if it is too late for many traditional organizations.
Virtual communities are already replacing many of the antiquated national organizations which have huge overhead and an inability to help individuals.
Virtual training is replacing the large conferences, meetings and university classes. Webinars and online courses like Partners in Policymaking are the new “best practice.”
Do you use the traditional phone and agencies in your community, or do you search for people and information in the virtual world of Cable TV, iPods, www, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and …?
Summary: In 2011, we can use our individual power, the Power of One, to make a difference for our children with disabilities. We can do it by advocating directly for the people we love, and we can do it by becoming part of a virtual community like Climbing Every Mountain or other online communities.
In 2011–We’re Number One!
I hope you will sign up (top left) to get notices of new posts. I hope you will add your voice and stories to the comments. I hope you will use the social media of Twitter and Facebook to invite others to join us. The way we are going to build a better world for vulnerable people is to join together. And I hope you have an amazing 2011.
Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward
All my best for a fantastic year of ones,
Use Your Power: Comments Please
How can you use the Power of One? Do you think social media can help? Do you recommend other blogs and/or virtual communities?
I’d love to read your comments and know what you are planning this year.
Day 7 of our Chris Brogan Every-Day-for-30-Days Blogging Challenge Follow us on Twitter #CB30BC
Last week I stopped at a tiny produce stand at the edge of a corn field (Ohio). It sold an unusual assortment of fruits, vegetables, bakery goods, crafts….
Grandpa Farmer said the corn was picked this morning from his field but the other things were from all over. The blackberries and peaches were part of a cooperative exchange with a family farm in Georgia–local truckers just added his shipment to their usual transport loads and made an extra stop at the farm in the towns they passed. He said he also barters an exchange of his corn and melons for fresh baked goods from a local restaurant (Der Dutchman).
What I thought was remarkable was that even in 2010 and the days of social media and networking, these family farmers were still exchanging goods and services the old fashioned way. Their B-to-B (business to business) offline business model was still built on personal relationships and trust. Getting fresh products to individual customers. Going the extra mile, literally.
There were about five shoppers there at the time I was there. None of us knew each other, none of us really even gave each other eye contact. But, we all probably lived within a short distance of each other.
In older times this would have been an important social time to exchange family and community news. This face-to-face exchange also made it easier for people with disabilities to be included in the community. It took people with all sorts of skills to work at the farm and stores, and they were each a person connected to families and neighbors–not just strange strangers.
Other than my questions, there was no conversation other than Grandpa Farmer asking us to “pay with the smallest bills possible.”
But while this was typical B-to-C (business to consumer) social behavior for 2010, considering the centuries old social and business exchange model of corn for blackberries, corn for snickerdoodle cookies, I was feeling nostalgic and wishing for the past face-to-face friendly social interactions of an ancient marketsquare and a community where people actually knew and cared about each other.
Seth Godin, the marketing and social media guru wrote a book called Linchpin: Are you indespensable? (Penguin, 2010) about the power of one person to make a difference, be remarkable.
If this farmer really understood this, he could have been the Linchpin, he could have made shopping at the produce stand a different experience than shopping at the large superstore where the produce looks great but there are no plows, wagons or rows of corn anywhere in sight. He missed his opportunity to build relationships and make his customers loyal friends instead of just people who were asked to pay with small bills.
So I guess my takeaway is that online or offline, the way we communicate and build our business model, deliver products, interact with our neighbors and customers can be personal or impersonal. The method of delivery, the social media is not what makes the difference.
PEOPLE MAKE THE DIFFERENCE.
The Aaron difference
Most people say my son Aaron, who has the label of autism has few social skills. In fact, some experts would say people with autism cannot even have social interactions, that is the definition of autism. But I’d be willing to bet if Aaron had been with me, while we were at the produce stand he would have sang, “Old McDonald” a hundred times and gotten everyone there to join in. Everyone there would be smiling by the time they left. Aaron would have given them a personal and memorable experience. Aaron would have been the Linchpin. He would have made sure everyone connected.
Who are the Linchpins in your life? Who is so indispensable that your life would be different without them?
Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward.
All the best,
In case you missed it:
Day 1: “Every Day for 30 Days” Blogging Challenge or “IBP” (Individual Blogging Plan) Day 1 of the 30-Day-Every-Day Blogging challenge. (click here)
Day 4: An Avalanche and an Aaron story (click here)
Day 5: “The Host” vs. the Home Stagers vs. Aaron (click here)
Day 6: “There is no spoon?” Disability Style (click here)