It’s TEDx Middlebury 2013! Audrey and I will be updating MiddBlog today with summaries of the thirteen speakers. Stay tuned for lots of insight, nuggets of wisdom, and so much more. Check out the live stream of the event here. And keep up with our twitter feed for live coverage from @MiddBlog! (Apologies in advance for the sporadic nature of our updating, we’ll make sure it’s all in order once the symposium has ended!)
Intro: The morning started out with introductions and thank your from the students who made this year’s TEDx event possible. MiddBlog would also like to reiterate the thank you to Liz Robinson at the Project for Creativity and Innovation for her unwavering support to events like TEDx and student projects across campus! Onto the speakers and their takes on this year’s theme: The Road Not Taken.
First speaker: Andy Nagy-Benson is the pastor of The Congregational Church of Middlebury. He opened with a quote from “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. He talked about how “the road not taken” could also be interpreted as a “vocation found.” Many people discuss ministry as a “calling” and Andy sees it as the need to serve one of the world’s great needs that meets with one’s personal passion. He told an emotional story about his first day as a student chaplain at a hospital when he was paged on his first day to baptize a baby girl who was being kept on life support in the neonatal unit. After the baptism, the little girl died soon after, yet the nurse in the unit stayed with the family for hours afterwards. Andy said that it is this “with” that made the difference. He supplemented with other touching stories of the children’s book “The Frog and the Toad” and an anecdote of a teenage service trip to Virginia. He ended by saying that it is a challenge and a privilege to live a life of being “with.”
Second speaker: Ai-Jen Poo is the Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). She introduced her talk by honoring her grandmother as an important caregiver in her own life. However, despite her grandmother’s cheerful outlook on life (she laughs three times a day), she needs a caregiver to help her complete everyday chores. Using the story of her grandmother, Ai-Jen highlights the problem that as a country, the United States does not care for those who take care of others. Warning that the rapidly aging population of the US will require more domestic workers, Ai-Jen envisions a county in which caregivers get the support they need. She sees the possibility of a caring economy grounded in the values of respect and relationships. To get to this point as a national community, she asks us how we, as individuals, can care for others. Can we call our parents more? Can we look after our neighbors better? To whom can we offer a smile?