Rainbows, White-Lighters, and College Students

Rainbow SplotchesI read quite a bit. In part, it comes with the job of being a teacher in an Information Systems class. I spend huge chunks of my day going through news stories, trying to find material that will help elevate the boring class material that I have into something that’s a little more interesting. I have found that recent news examples tend to be the most helpful medicine I can dose that boring textbook with. But it also means I spend a major amount of my day connected to the internet – rather than being outside where I want to be. This happens to be true during this part of the class semester – the very beginning. Since I am constantly refreshing the material in my class, I rarely teach my class the exact same way each semester. I am constantly removing and adding exercises, trying to see what works best and what doesn’t. Its a lot of work. And to be honest, like many educators in the various levels of the Education System – the pay is not great. But when the students get that “AHA!” moment, where the material clicks in their minds, and it opens up a whole new way of looking at the world around them – there’s not a dollar figure in the world that would conquer that moment. Its that moment that keeps me teaching.

The same can be said for the way I approach my “religious” and “spiritual” Life. I am constantly adding and subtracting to the way I approach these metaphysical matters in my Life. I know what doesn’t work for me… elaborate ritual, ceremonial accoutrements, hardcore dogma…and I am aware at what does work for me…spur of the moment ritual, awareness/awe of Nature, showing for rituals or gathering as I am. But I am always willing to look at new ideas, new ways of doing things…always willing to see the world through a new set of eyes. I am fully aware that my Life is lived by my own rules, along with a respect that others may not see the world the same as I do. Parts of that have had to change though. Coyote and Crow pull me along a Path of their choice. Surely, they have a purpose, something that I am to do. However, I also have a lot of things to learn before I get to that. In exchange for that knowledge, that learning…I am agreeing to whatever task (for lack of a better word) that they may have for me.

In a manner of speaking, this quite similar to being in college. I teach the students about Information Systems, how these systems are created, how they are used, and how they can be abused. My ultimate goal is for them to walk away from the class with a better understanding of the pitfalls, and dangers in today’s information-centric society, but to also see how these tools are useful in business related application. As I relate to them, the tool is not good or bad, its the usage of the tool and the result (both anticipated and unanticipated) that provide it with a moral coating. If the students pick up other lessons, such as a better way to argue their points in their writing assignments, or a better way to shape their position in an oral discussion – that’s great. In exchange for the knowledge that I impart to them, all I ask is that they continue on in their education, be the best student that they can, and whatever their chosen profession – be the innovators of new products, as well as the harbingers of positive change in how we treat our environment. Yes, I do teach a block on Green Energy for computing solutions in this class.

I have always said that I am not much of a teacher, and to a point that is correct. But, in true essence, we all serve as teachers, mentors, facilitators…we all try to help the younger generation avoid some of the pitfalls we experience in our daily lives. Sometimes, they listen – sometimes they don’t. But we all approach people new to our working environments with welcoming arms, and understanding when these new folks are a little naive about their standing in the world around them. Just one final point to ponder…if that’s what we do at work – nurture the new workers along until they finally “get it”…why do we, as Pagans (in the general sense of the term), feel the need to bag on the White-Lighters and Rainbow Children? Most of the time, these folks are new to their Path…and are the naive, wide-eyed innocents we all were when we started down our chosen Paths. Why treat these folks with derision and sarcasm?  Should we not nurture them and help them along their Path as well? Imagine how different your own experience might have been, if someone else had (or had not) been there to help nurture you on your Path. Just a thought…

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