Saturday, May 28, 2011

start with the interests of the child

Our front yard has been a pool of water for weeks, as heavy rains have regenerated a spring that had been active in the years before our house was built. Early settlers had built a dry stacked stone spring box large enough that we can walk inside, and it 's the only discernible evidence of their having lived here before our time. Now we have a steady stream of clear water flowing across in front of our house. That much water is no surprise. A neighbor measured 38 inches of rain this month, with the bulk of it coming in two storms. The first was 24 inches delivered in two days, and the second was 14 inches in a 36 hour period. Now it is beginning to dry again and we have the kind of beautiful early summer day that we are used to having in Arkansas.

I want to restate the principles of educational sloyd.

Start with the interests of the child.
Progress from the known to the unknown
from the easy to the more difficult
from the simple to the complex
from the concrete to the abstract.

A mistake has been made in thinking that once we get over the simple stuff, or the known stuff, or the easy stuff, or out of the concrete, we move on, without looking back...  but child-like wonder is something we must never allow ourselves to escape. It is the instrument that lures us onward toward growth. We think we have matured, but matured to what? And in what ways? Are our lives as meaningful as we have become adult? There is a difference between mature behavior and maturity of spirit, and maturity of spirit is the opposite of what we might think.

In my very early days, I wanted to be an explorer and inventor, discovering, sharing new ideas, in the making of new things, and what I've become instead is an inventor of methods specific to woodworking, that I have been given the privilege of sharing through a variety of means. I make things in the wood shop, and tell how they are made, and why they are made, and in the process, as described by Comenius, "We give form to ourselves and to our materials at the same time." In the making of things, I myself am made, and that too, is a process I can share. And all this begins with a child-like wonder. The precept, Start with the interests of the child applies to the child within each of us as well as to the children we are privileged to instruct.

My box for the article for FineWoodworking is nearly complete and is shown in the photo above.

Make, fix and create.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid my heirloom tomatoes, all started from seed, would flat out drown if I put them in the ground. But they're fast outgrowing the starter pots. The yard is a swamp.

As far as explorer and discoverer of new ideas, you've certainly done that!

Mario