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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dear Hannah: LEarning (Got Floppies? (Thoughts On Healing & Stewardship))

Dear Hannah,

You have been given relationships, possessions, talents, a mind, a body, and time.

Take care of what you have been given.



Support Our Work - Buy This Podcast (SEE BELOW)!



"LEarning (Got Floppies? (Thoughts On Healing & Stewardship))"
By Derrick Brown

For years, I have repaired, recycled, and redistributed broken / obsolete laptop & desktop computers.

It began as a hobby.

When I was young, my Dad fixed large and small electronics to make our living.

I soon noticed that we never bought stereos, radios, TVs, refrigerators, washers & dryers - never.

I liked that.

I did not quite understand why we never bought them - but I liked that we never bought them.

So, I decided that after buying my first computer in 1992 for $1500 - that I would never buy another one.

I got a "broken" surplus computer from school, found out it was not broken at all - and I was captivated.

You might call this an "a-ha" moment.

Maybe even an "oh snap" moment.

It goes without saying that this was not the last "broken" computer I was ever given.

In fairness, many of them *were* broken - but many more were not.

Learning how to repair and reuse them taught me some dangerous work and life skills.

It alerted me to our (society's) wasteful habits and stewardship challenges.

It also saved and redirected my life - by giving me the opportunity to help people, which helped me to start healing.

This project helped me learn who I was (good, bad, and ugly), and discover my real passion for learning and uplifting people.

It helped me to stop "marking time", "running in place", "treadmilling", and suffocating as a "professional student".

It helped me to stop hiding behind my "busyness".

This was a time when life slowed down enough for me to feel every pain that I had numbed.

It helped me to start slowly "marching" towards freedom, courage, and victory.

I ran a summer camp for years teaching kids how to rebuild and reuse "broken" computers.

The camp was about so much more than broken computers - but people were quite drawn to that idea.

The camp helped me to continue my healing, and gave me a lot of opportunities to help other people heal.

Not quite in the way melodramatic way you see in churches or formal counseling - this approach was kinda quiet, subtle and unspoken.

Sometimes it just works better that way.

But I digress.

I financed the program through corporate sponsorships and resale of the repaired computers - or the working parts harvested from the unsalvageable ones.

The model I built is still a robust and viable one - 20 years later.

I am now using this approach to engage and organize local families.

This organizing effort is purposed to help them build positive, accountable relationships with the people who govern, run, and support their child's school.

It is also purposed to help them build skills, resources, and strategies.

'Cause you can win if you are in the game ...

... you can win if got some game ...

... and you can win if you have a plan, and know how to adjust.

If you are smelling what I am cooking, you see the overt and covert purposes in this mission.

The covert purpose (building skills, resources, and strategies) is the ultimate mission.

The overt purpose (engaging school stakeholders) is the supplemental mission - it will facilitate (and finance) the ultimate mission.

That is how I roll.

But I digress.

Let's get back on track.

I have limited time and space now, so sourcing and storing computers - while still important - is more of a challenge.

So, several months ago, I started thinking about how to adjust.

What other viable tools do we now throw away and even mock - that are still just as useful now?

Since the beginning of the year, I have had my memory jogged several times about how floppy disks were like Swiss army knives in the "old days" of computers (before CDs, DVDs, USBs and flash drives).

You installed software with them.

You backed up your computer with them.

You could use them to start and clean your computer if it had a virus (or some other issue).

If you had a Sony Mavica digital camera, you stored your pictures on them.

If you had a MIDI keyboard, or an Akai music production center (MPC), you stored music patterns on them, or used them to start your machine.

If you are a court reporter (stenographer), your recording machine uses them.

If you embroider, your machine uses them.

They also pack and stack well, taking up very little space.

But floppy diskettes have disappeared.

They are considered obsolete and archaic by most segments of society.

People will laugh at you silently and aloud if you even mention them.

When diskette drives were removed from computers, I threw all of my floppies away - except for one that I called "MacGyver".

"MacGyver" contains some special tools that have solved many problems for me.

A buddy called a few days ago with a dilemma.

We have a mutual friend who designs and builds custom car stereo speaker cabinets using some old computer programs.

They were installed on his computer for him in the 1990s, and he was given no installation diskettes.

His computer only has a diskette drive, and he now needs to move the design program to another computer.

"MacGyver" is the only tool I have that can help him - but it is the only tool I need.

Floppy diskettes are still useful in this world.

The fact that most people disagree only increases their value.

I'm in the floppy game, and can win the game - because I know how to play, have a plan, and can adjust.

As I close, there are a few layers to this message, so let's peel them back ...

1. One person's trash is another's treasure. I make my living this way.

2. Don't let the smooth face fool you - I am a purposeful strategist who does not think with his eyes. I make my giving this way.

3. We are all treasures in earthen vessels - with strengths that emanate from healed weaknesses (2 Cor 4:7-9). I hope that I am living my life this way.


About Derrick Brown (Standup Storyteller)

I am Keisha's husband, and Hannah's father.

I am a “standup storyteller.”

I fuse rap, spoken word (poetry), oration (traditional public speaking), singing, and teaching into messages of hope, healing, and change that I write, direct, and produce to help people who help people.

Everything must change - and stay changED.

Tradition begins and ends with change.

Change begins with me and the renewing of my mind ... then continues through efforts to effect small-group discipleship (equipping others to equip others) with audiences that respect and embrace mentoring, mediation, and problem solving as tools of change.

I am the product of my mentoring relationships, peacemaking (and peacekeeping), and problem-solving ability.

My education began when I finished school.

After school, I enrolled in a lifelong curriculum that includes classes in ministry, entrepreneurship, stewardship, literacy, numeracy, language, self-identity, self-expression, and analysis / synthesis.

My projects execute a ministry that has evolved from wisdom earned through lessons learned.

I want to share this wisdom to build teams of "triple threat" fellows - mentors, mediators, and problem solvers.

We will collaborate in simple, powerful ways that allow us to help people who help people.

I now know that power is work done efficiently (with wise and skillful use of resources, interests, communication, and expertise).

Copyright © 2020 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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