7. Origin Story and Case Study – Part 2

Origin Story and Case Study – Part 2

Rediscovering Literacy

Let’s quickly cover a few ideas about literacy.

My outlook about literacy began to change in my first conversation with Bart, after realizing that literacy means far more than reading, writing and speaking. For me, literacy made simple means to a distinctive set of skills in any arena that we develop for moving through our life and career, for dealing with the world, accomplishing whatever we can, and in general thriving as much as possible. Through our many forms of literacy — which I now appreciate more than ever — we grow, learn, accomplish, share, etc. far beyond the boundaries of basic reading, writing, and speaking.

Developing our literacy, often begins in childhood and continues throughout our career, or beyond. The depth of our literacy increases with the complexity of challenges we apply it to. In addition to becoming fluent in our native language, we can become fluent in financial literacy, technology, science, mechanics, physical fitness, relationships, politics and business. For example, successful farmers, as I’ve come to learn from the farmers I’m related to through my marriage, are generally far more environmentally and mechanically literate than I am. While literacy doesn’t guarantee success in any field, it does assure you greater opportunity to play in that field. Try to enter medicine. law or the military without the vocabular to converse and you won’t get very far.

Typically, this set of skills, which we can just as easily refer to as a framework, a mindset, or the use of a pattern language, etc. is developed over years, through a great deal of practice, some training, and constant positive interaction with others. It’s rarely cultivated in shorter periods of time and without the help and examples of others, as well as the application of these skills to some meaningful problem solving. DVL on the other hand, as a hybrid, is perhaps a little different.

Up until about a year ago, I never gave the subject of literacy much consideration. After all, if everyone we interact with already knows how to read, write and speak, how important as a subject is literacy to discuss? When was the last time you talked about it with anyone? Once we find ourselves to be literate enough, in the most obvious sense of the word, or we enter the working world after or high school or college, a great many of us seem to go on automatic or learn only what we need to get by in our job or field. 

Furthermore, how often do we think about all the other kinds of literacy we probably haven’t yet developed, though could if we wanted— some of which I’ve mentioned above: literacy about the workings of our bodies, nature, relationships, math, finance, music, architecture. The list goes on. Bart is from Central Europe, speaks more than three languages, has a Ph.D in Economics, and compared to me, is a high-tech wizard. Meanwhile, I’m from Southern California, I speak one language and have a Bachelors degree. Yet our different forms of literacy seemed to overlap and mesh. Over the course of that call, through the unusual connection we made across geography and two different cultures, my understanding and appreciation of literacy began to take on a whole new meaning.