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Posts Tagged ‘Youtube’

En route to work yesterday the radio announcer talked about a young man who had recently become a YouTube sensation. What made him rise to the top was his music, his joie de vivre (the way he lived life to the full) … and the fact that he was dying.

Zach Sobiech, a teenager from Lakeland, Minnisota, from a family of six … mother (Laura), father (Rob), Alli (22), Sam (19), and Grace (14). A senior at high school. A student making plans for college. A musician. A young … young man.

Zach-Sobiech-3-600

At fourteen Zach was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and he spent much of the next four years fighting for his life with surgeries and treatments. In May of 2012, Zach’s doctors informed him, and his family, that they felt he only about a year to live … at seventeen years of age.

Encouraged by his mom to write letters to the ones he loved, Zach threw his heart into writing music instead. In December his single, Clouds, was released on YouTube, and at the time of this writing, there have been over three and a half million hits.

On Monday, May 20, 2013, Zach completed his earthly journey, breathing his last with those he loved most, and who will miss him most, gathered around.

“And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now”
‘Clouds’ (Zach Sobiech)

SoulPancake produced a story about Zach, and his incredible will to live each day as if he were dying. “My Last Days” is worthwhile time spent.

“I want everyone to know, you don’t have to find out you are dying, to start living.”
Zach Sobiech

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It is said that parenting has been made more difficult with the rapid advancements in technology and the effects of social media on our children. Certainly that can be the case.

For those of us who are parents of teens, it is nearly impossible to keep up with what is new, what is hip, what our kids are in to.

There is nothing more eye opening for me, as a parent, of how much more quickly the world is changing now, compared to when I was a kid, than explaining to my three kids (ages thirteen, fifteen and twenty):

  • ‘dial up’ … that was the norm only about ten years ago.
  • life without laptops and cell phones … hubby had his first of each about the year our fifteen year old was born (according to Reuters, May 2012, nearly one quarter of American homes have ditched landlines for cell phones)
  • life without i Pods or MP3 players … none of which existed until after our fifteen year old was born (over 300 million i Pods sold)
  • Google was an infant when our thirteen year old was born … it was launched just a month before his birth (it receives almost 1 billion views each month)
  • life without YouTube … it did not appear until 2005 (it’s most watched video, “Charlie Bit My Finger” received almost 500 million views alone)
  • Facebook has only been around since 2006 … my children were seven, nine and fourteen when it became available to all with an email address (now about 955 million users)

The world certainly has changed, and it is not stopping. We have a choice, as parents, we can either bury our graying heads in the sand and pretend that it doesn’t affect us OR we can do our best to understand the world which our children are immersed in.

For me, it was an easy choice, because if I turn my back on the language of my children today, how will we communicate tomorrow? My children have grown up with talk of gigabytes, tweeting and social media. It is, in all practicality, their first language. And if I have hope of continuing in communication, I feel it is easier for me to climb the learning curve, and learn enough that I can walk them through this technological road.

I have not only three children, but also two ‘friends’ on Facebook (one is not yet thirteen, and, since it is the Facebook policy that you need to be thirteen to have an account, he is still waiting). It is here that I can be familiar with who their friends are, how they are conversing, and the ups and downs of their circles. This is not information that I am ‘sneaking’ as my kids know that I am interested in their lives, and in the lives of their friends (many of whom are also my ‘friends’). They do tell me not to ‘like’ every picture they post, because that’s “just creepy,” so I am learning how to navigate this new world from them too!

I am not saying I always agree with all that is new, or the intrusions that technology creates in our lives. I most certainly see foundational flaws to social media as a main use of communication in our world. I see the need for a Miss. Manners in the form of a Wii character, to watch over and instruct the users of the world wide web. I have struggled through terminology that is new (most of which are acronyms) and foreign to my ears. I sometimes wonder if in the future the acronyms we now use in texting will become the words of Webster’s Dictionary. Or that Webster’s will be replaced by Urban Dictionary. I have also found sites visited by my kids that, in the words of my grandmother, make my eyeballs curl.

But, each setback is also an opportunity to teach and to learn, and for me and my kids, we are doing it together, bumps and bruises alike.

For those of us of a more archaic age, the video below might put a smile on your faces, like it did my kids and I:

In our house, it has happened that all five of us are home, even in the same room, having a conversation by texting. It may sound rather ridiculous, but hubby and I figure it is good for a laugh, and helps us maintain uniqueness as a family. We have even been talking about having a dinner where we all communicate via text through the entire meal. We are all about memory making, and hey, the family that texts together, stays together 😉 !

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Confession time … I do not like the Little Drummer Boy Christmas song.  W A Y  back when I was a kid it was my favorite song, and favorite Christmas TV special. But, as I got older my fondness for it has waned dramatically … until now.

Last week (November 30) a young man from Winnipeg, Manitoba posted his version on Youtube which has gone viral (as of today it has just under two hundred thousand hits … only four days after being posted). This version is changing my perspectives towards the Little Drummer Boy song.

Sean Quigley, a sixteen year old high school student designed the arrangement. He directed, edited, recorded, and played instruments, as well as mixed it into what you can view above. WOW!

I have to say I totally love the rockier, modern version he has created. It is fun, and demands a response of toe tapping at the very least.

As I watched I was awed by his gifts, I was moved by his passion, and I was curious about his motivation. Did he know of what, and of who he was singing? Was it just a song? Or was he, like the little drummer boy he was belting out lyrics about, a poor boy with nothing to give but that which God put within him, in the form of his gifts and talents?

When an interviewer told Sean Quigley that Justin Bieber started this (Youtube) way, and asked if he dreams the same for himself, Sean responded this way:

“I wouldn’t say that being recognized is the dream. I just want people to remember what Christmas is about. It’s not about Santa, it’s not about presents, it’s about the birth of Christ, and that’s whats most important to me right now.”

YES! The message, and the messenger are in sync!

Somehow knowing that makes the validity, the power of his expression of his gifts all the more beautiful, knowing that he is acknowledging not just his gifts, but the giver of those same gifts, talents and abilities. And he is quite literally playing out the lyrics the song ends with.

“I played my drum for him,
I played my best for him,

Then he smiled at me, (Pa rum pum pum pum)
Me and my drum”


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