Monday, February 28, 2011

The Pedagogy of the Decade

Up early. Coffee in Calistoga. And a walk before work.

As a young man I thought life would be much different by the time I turned Fifty. In some ways, things are much better. The Internet has made it possible for an intellectually curious person to have a ravingly good time with all the access to information. Literally, at my fingertips, I can research almost anything.

The experience of being Human, I think, has been diminished over the last thirty years. How so? Over crowding. Non civil behavior. The lack of investment in communal values. And more.

I'm big on the Decade transitions in life. They are so very important as we look at our lives. The Age 20 transition. Age 30. Age 40. Age 50. I think we under emphasize the importance these mile markers have on the psyche. And how choices we make at the beginning of a decade, become a point for a near Pablo Freire-like dialectal synthesis in which to start our new decade. The pedagogy of the decade.

My age 40 Transition consisted of selling all my stuff: house, books, possessions--except for what I could fit into my car. The ultimate down sizing. My plan was to spend my 40's traveling here and there; enjoying new places and people. I met Joni on that journey and so, at the close of this decade, we bought a place to settle down.

But now it is Age 50 Transition time. Study your Erickson, Allan. Eric Erickson is someone I use in my job (as he just seems to be right about these critical crises; development goals through out the lifespan). Yet, at the same time, I think I would break down these stages more along the lines of the Decade. Especially from Age 20 on.

A person in their Fifties is on the downward slope physically. Important to pay much more attention to the physical challenges. Yet mentally and creatively, I think the Fifties signifies the height of a person's development. Occupationally, most certainly. Your Fifth Decade should be the height of your "Generativity" as Erickson called it.

This is the decade to write that book. To take those challenges and dares because, now, you have the wisdom and the physical prowess to pull it off. Failure to not do so ends in Erickson's "stagnation". Plenty of that around. Ask a Fifty year old what kind of TV shows they watch and how much TV they watch, and, if the answer is anything other than PBS or something educational, and if the time spent is in the "hours a day", well, that person is not successfully completing the Erickson's challenge for that stage of life.

Time to generate.

1 comment:

lph said...


I remember last year in the weeks and days before I turned 50 how I too contemplated my existence...and purpose...and goals. Today, a bit more than a year later I am in the best physical shape of my life. It wasn't easy, but it sure was fun. I weigh less now than I did in 1995. That is pretty cool.

Mentally I still feel sharp and creative, although the battle currently raging here in Wisconsin is wearing me out. Still trying to fight. Still trying to read. Still trying to inform the uninformed. According to the public polls we are winning the battle, but it is difficult to fight the power when the power has such deep pockets (and the assembly, the senate, and the governorship).

I se one great paradox in your post: although I agree that the internet has been a wonderful addition to the world I would also argue that its presence, as well as the presence of much technology is largely responsible for the diminishment of the human experience.

And lastly, for what it is worth, turning 50 has been good for me.

Take care,