As I have said before, I feel I carry with me as I walk in the world a backpack. Within it I pack a certain view of the world I find myself in. The fabric is weaved with both my own experience and the tradition of those who came before me. The contents contain the notion that our nature of reality is fluid and socially constructed.
I also carry with me the assumption that as people we are born into the world with a need to understand our place in it. As well, to truly understand this place, we must participate democratically with in it. As a researcher I believe that I will be the primary agent for data collection and its analysis, yet if I am to truly come to an understanding I must work in collaboration with my participants to construct the data I will use. I believe that technology lends it’s self to exploration and democracy but not unless they are first valued. But why is this? I think I sit in the world this way as a result to of the mixing of the ingredients I was born with and the experiences I traveled through. As I child in the 60’s I struggled to learn to read. My parents hired a tutor to help me cope in school. The Tutor introduced me to “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis (1950). I identified with Lucy she was about my age and no one seemed to believe in her. She was overlooked. (If you have not read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe it is time you did.) We can learn from Lucy that people are much more capable than what others may think at first glance. With courage we can tell our stories. She can also teach us that there is a power in community when we join together we may produce a power capable of actually moving mountains. I have since read the story many times and shared it with my children when they where young. It of course was different through adult eyes but I am still reminded to never go out my front door with out some sense of the mystery that awaits me with the possibilities of each step.
I have discovered the transformative power in telling and listening to each other’s stories. The power lies in the possibility of growth, for both the teller and the listener. School did not come easy to me but I believe my real education in life has had nothing to do with explanations of what I know or my marks on a test. It has been more about wanting to know and diving in to find out. When I learned to read it was a Dick and Jane world. As a young child I had no love of story. It was just something we had to learn to do in order to live in the world. That tutor that introduced me to “The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe” encouraged me to crawl inside a story. To see it, smell it, and touch my way through the pages. I will never forget the magic she revealed to me by reading, drawing and talking about each character. This struggle gave to me a gift. It is the gift of story. I believe this is why I feel a need to approach my research as a listener and interpreter of story.