February 3

(Human) Connections

Yesterday, a friend posted on Facebook that her brother had just passed away from a massive heart attack. She said she debated before posting, as she intentionally estranged herself from him when her oldest child was born 20-odd years ago, because she did not want her brother influencing her children.

As I read her post, I felt sad on many fronts. Sad for this middle-aged man who was in such pain that he used substances to numb himself. Sad for my friend because she had to make a very tough decision all those years ago. Further sadness for her because I am sure she loved her brother, so she has been grieving his loss for decades.

I also asked myself what her purpose was for posting this history and loss in such a public way? I concluded that she, like all of us, seeks human connection, and she is reaching out for support.

individuals with the lowest level of involvement in social relationships are more likely to die than those with greater involvement

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a branch of the National Institutes of Health, says studies consistently show that “individuals with the lowest level of involvement in social relationships are more likely to die than those with greater involvement” and that this holds true “even when socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and other variables that might influence mortality, were taken into account.”

Human connections are just as important in the workplace as they are in purely social settings. Which brings me to Professional Learning Networks. I am grateful for the many other educators I have the privilege of connecting with, especially those I’ve “met” as the result of my participation in the Connected Learning MOOC.

My friend Sarah knit me a hat (and a Christmas ornament!) and helps me better understand what is happening in the UK. Karen faithfully corresponds, and has offered sage advice on more than one occasion. Daniel keeps up the fight against inequality by bridging the divide between those in need and those who can provide tutoring and mentoring services. Kevin abundantly shares information useful for improving my practice, and is always ready to lend a helping hand. Sheri, like me, loves project-based learning (PBL), and offers great insights, both directly and indirectly, into how I can become a better practitioner. Terry’s dissident thinking and reflection require me to think and reflect more deeply. Kim’s lovely photos make me yearn to return to southern California. Susan is another PBL geek who offers authentic critique of my work, and her fabulous art continually delights me. Wendy informs me how hot it is down under as we are freezing here, and creates (along with several others listed here!) magical music. Ron inspires me with his writing of children’s stories, which he does in addition to his “day job” of designing medical education. Simon is another who provokes me to think more deeply, and to aspire to learn all the cool things that can be done with digital art tools.

These are but the tip of the iceberg of my many PLN connections. If you’re not included here, it is because I ran out of time. Thank you all!


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Posted February 3, 2019 by inspirepassion in category #DigiWriMo, clmooc, Community

About the Author

I am a process-focused leader who uses collaboration, authenticity, and mentoring as key skills to inspire passion among learners of all ages. Aggregate eclectic professional experiences have honed my ability to coach others in designing and implementing courses of study using inquiry-/project-based learning (PBL).

7 thoughts on “(Human) Connections

  1. Daniel Bassill

    I too, value these shared connections with you and others I’ve met via Connected Learning MOOC.

    It requires a commitment of time, to fully experience this network. For instance, I saw your post on Twitter and clicked in to read it. Then in the comments, I saw the link Kevin attached, and took time to read it, too.

    I could (and maybe should) be doing something else, but because if value this network, I choose to spend some of each day this way.

  2. inspirepassion (Post author)

    I haven’t read Educated yet, although I see rave reviews everywhere. It’s on my LONG list! I’m also honored to count you as part of my virtual family!

  3. Sheri Edwards

    Charlene — Oh, a sad story for the young lady and her brother. I just read Educated by Tara Westover, a person with a strong love for all of her family, though able to stay connected to only part of them. It’s much more than that, but you are so right about connections. I love your thoughtful words and am honored to be part of your online “family”– a network of diverse creatives, connecting with each other to extend the our knowledge of the world in a positive and hopeful community of learners. Thanks for writing this. ~ Sheri


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