Don’t force the wood (Life lessons)

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What a great idea I thought. Wood carving would be a just the thing to indulge my creative leanings. Having fours years of study and a BA in sculpture under my belt I figured I could easily adapt.
Boy was I wrong! I’d mostly used clay, plaster etc. any past wood creations being the result of industrial power tools. The only thing I’d carved by hand was plaster of paris.
I soon discovered my mistake, not only was it hard work, but it just didn’t “flow”. The first simple relief came out well, only to be followed by three half finished free standing carvings. I finally got the point. I wasn’t learning about wood, how it grew, how “IT” flowed. I was merely trying to stamp an image on it. Wood is a living thing, to carve it you must know it intimately.
I pondered, isn’t life like that? We try to put our stamp upon it, shape it to our desire but we find forces working against us. We discover irreparable splits can occur when we hit in the wrong place. We have to understand the forces at work in our lives in order to flow with them, to step back and really look at latent possibilities we don’t notice if we are too intent to “get to work”.
So, I’ve decided, I’ll take some lessons from the master carpenter. This will be fun and far less work!

Stay alive!

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I find my joy of living in the fierce and ruthless battles of life, and my pleasure comes from learning something, from being taught something.
—August Strindberg (1849-1912), Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist, and painter

I don’t know as I’d say I find joy in the “Fierce and ruthless battles of life.” I’m not at all keen on those lol! But finding pleasure in learning – yes! I’ve always loved to learn (though my teachers might think otherwise!) I was the child sneak reading an encyclopedia under the desk during class. We didn’t have the internet back then but I joined a library at age five and never had my head out of a book from that time on (wonder I wasn’t run over!). But my learning wasn’t limited to books as I became more socially confident I found in every individual a world of fascinating memories and information. I loved home schooling my kids discovering the fascination of science along with them (hardly taught in my all girls school). As I aged and matured I began to add wisdom to my list of topics finding its gems in those “fierce and ruthless battles” aforementioned .

Have I stopped now? Of course not! That would take all the fun out of life!

“Learn something new every day. If you don’t, that’s a wasted day and life is too short for a string of wasted days.”

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There is so much in this wonderful world to learn about, new skills, new perspectives, new ideas, new places, new cultures, amazing creatures and phenomena,  old wisdom, new technology, even more exciting everyone has something they can teach you! Become as a child and absorb it all like a sponge!

Where did the fun go?

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child meds

Hot, controversial topic!

Having once more seen my mercurial grandson finally manage to fix his boisterous (note the “boy” part!)  personality into his official school slot, (as happens every new school year), this caught my eye.

Perhaps I shouldn’t talk about it lest I rant. lol! Being an ex private tutor, homeschooler and even helping start a successful school, I tend to have a lot to say.

Like doctors and vaccines, I made sure my own kids never darkened the halls of a conventional school room. I believe in helping each child find and reach their true potential, that education is for the child not vice verse.

Anyone who feels it’s normal for an active 6-7 year old boy to sit still at a desk for hours evidently never had a 6-7 year old boy! Yet small children love to learn. A fussing baby will frequently stop crying to pay attention when you point and say the name of things. Toddlers will annoyingly ask to watch the same show again and again till they’ve assimilated every word and we all know all about the “why” syndrome. Learning is natural, and kids love it, but school is not (at least not the way it is generally organised).

Perhaps the basic problem stems from the fact that most schools are large institutions run by governments having an agenda to produce a large number of suitably qualified fodder that will fit nicely into the established status quo either as elite (private school fodder) or unknowing servant of the elite (the rest of us).

Of course some unique souls manage to survive the “one size fits all” school factory packaging, becoming artists, inventors, movie stars etc. but they are few and far between. In most, sadly, the flame dies and learning loses its joy.

I speak of course in generalities. My time today is limited by the need to pick up the aforementioned grandson, from the aforementioned institution, and hopefully inspire him to complete his homework so he can successfully jump his SAT hurdles lol! This is a huge subject though. Perhaps you’d like to add your “ten cents”.

Good question!

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new!

Well actually I did do something for the first time today. I ran aground in the shallows of the lake after my disabled sailing buddy grabbed the tiller for the upteenth time while repeating “ash! ash!” in a frenzied voice.

After a couple of minutes of frantic waving on my part (and jubilant whoops of euphoria for some reason on my buddy’s) our faithful safety patrol guys came to pull us off.

After returning his carer told me, “oh he means food. It’s almost lunch time.” (Now I understand his anguished gestures towards the jetty and final frustrated grabbing the tiller – he wanted to eat!)

So I learnt two new things –

  1. Our safety crew are saints (instead of teasing me about my lack of sailing ability they smiled and announced, “you wont be the only ones going aground here today with that prevailing wind.” – no one else did but that made me feel better).
  2. ) I learnt that food can be very important to a disabled person. (He was afraid he might miss his meal out there on the lake.)

Real teachers know this!

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How I can so relate to this! Being dyslexic long before the condition was widely known my high IQ lay buried beneath totally incomprehensible spelling. Only after leaving school was I able to bring my mind to bare and learn how to overcome this becoming the only pupil from my poor secondary school to obtain a degree and go on to teach others.

One of the secrets of my success as a private tutor was my delight in unlocking the treasures buried in these brilliant minds and showing them how to apply them. Nothing can give more satisfaction to a teacher.

Learning freedoms we so often lack.

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The wind is gusting the sails, fighting for control of our small vessel. My “special” companion works the tiller, proving surprisingly adept as he carries on a soliloquy of “Can you paint with all the colours of the wind?”

We laugh and squeal as it takes us twirling to circle round, and try again to tack, we have to yield; you cannot win a battle with the wind!

He talks about Deadpool (his obsession) asks what I’d do if I saw him coming towards us in a boat full of guns. He tries out his humour on me. I love the freedom of these “special sailors”, they never pretend, they just “are”. Though each disabled in some way they share a bond of freedom we so often lack.

I’ve always felt I could learn from everyone I encountered in life, but did I leave these out, the autistic, mongoloid, mentally handicapped, disabled?

Now I begin to understand. They have so much to teach me, of freedom, of simple joy, of appreciation, of love.

I love the sun on the water, the rush of the wind as it lifts the boat, and I love spending time with these pure ones.