Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Seeing

I'm reading a novel now called Under the Glacier -- a funny book written by Iceland's greatest writer, Halldor Laxness. (No, that's not the funny part). An old woman in the novel, who lives in a VERY small town, says, "I myself have never seen anything one could call seeing. And nothing has ever happened to me" (25). She spends all her time in the kitchen making layer cakes. It's funny -- and sad at the same time -- to think that a person can live a life without experiencing anything.

Yet this kind of response is similar to what some students said when we started the Personal History assignment: "I haven't done anything" or "Nothing big has ever happened." Is it that some people think of history as an ancient subject, not a present tense activity we are creating right now? Our lives are surely part of our collective history even if they don't become a part of other people's histories. Or is it then that we are just not doing what anyone would call seeing? Writing about our lives truthfully and specifically may be our only way of learning to see and learning to see others.


6 comments:

Stephanie H said...

Personally, I don't see that nothing could have happened to you. Every decision you make changes your life. Even if it seems small, it sculpts who you are. I had too many topics actually, and had to decide which one affected my life the most. I had when I partially dislocated my sternum, which still effects me today because it cannot be re- attached to my ribs, but I chose the time when my sister and I basically stopped talking instead.

I think that we just need to realize everything we do is important to us, everything matters. Part of the problem could also be finding something that we feel comfortable sharing.

Bolos said...

Awesome commentary, Stephanie. Thank you for sharing material of a personal nature.

It means a lot to have a model of a student who is willing to open up in front of others. You will have many who follow you, I would imagine!

unfGuido said...

I feel as though everyone has something to share with others. Our personal experiences and relationships help define who we are. As I share my life experiences with my children; I know that they take a little bit of me to help shape who they are and where they are going. Never say you have nothing to share...someone will always be touched by you. From Joe's mom

sarah said...

I found the segment from "seeing" an interesting study that everyone can comment on. We need to spend more time reflecting on what happens in our lives. We all experience so much and need to reflect on it to understand how it shapes our opinions and we see life. Our experiences are who we are.
When we make a decision it leads us to another situation which leads us to another decision. And on and on. If we stop to reflect on this, we may make more careful choices.
From Sarah Skalla's mother

Lars said...

Bobby's mom...thank goodness history and generations have opened our eyes and vocabulary! (Although I can think of a few newspaper stories that didn't need to be so specific) Whether your day is mundane or filled with excitement, it all impacts our lives...as a parent, I think we (I) maybe take for granted the impact we have on our children. It is a better time to reflect on honesty and 'realness' than 40 years ago...life is filled with challenges; honesty and sharing are the positives that we have today. Unfortunately, as with history, it is sometimes 'post the fact' that the real meaning is defined.

Sara D said...

From the moment we are born we touch someone. At first it's our parents and siblings. Later, as we go into the world it's friends, teachers, coworkers... even the cashier at the grocery store. A smile or simple hello can change a person's day. No, we won't all make an important medical discovery or rocket to the moon, but in our everyday lives we may be remembered by just one person who we didn't even realize was touched by us in the simplest of ways. That's the kind of personal history I hope to be remembered for and I hope my children have learned this as well.
Sara Dorn's mom