Friday, April 19, 2013

fast enough?

Jack, (not his real name) was upset at Clear Spring School last week and told his teacher that the other kids kept beating him in the race. Sometimes life is not fair. But being smaller of size can mean less speed on the ground. Not all muscles (and not all children) mature at the same rate, and the variability in developmental rates whether in musculature or mind lead some children to compete favorably or unfavorably in one area or another in comparison with their peers. Age can also play a large part in this.

The tragic thing is that kid learn wrongly that they are either good or not good in various things, like reading or math, or athletics when if they were able to withhold judgment of themselves until a later date, might actually discover they are actually good in basketball.

Can you see how this works or how you might apply the lessons learned from this to your own life?

I've been trying to explain to my apprentice that it is harder for a mature man to escape the inevitable criticism of self than for a child to simply make, fix, create and have fun. The suspension of self-criticism as one works with wood, is essential to the process of growth. Years ago, I took Crescent Dragonwagon's first class in "fearless writing." She said, "when writing, leave the editor out of the room. You cannot drive with your foot on both the gas pedal and brake."

So please, suspend criticism of your own work. Do not worry how fast your competitors run, or how fast or well your own work is accomplished. In time, and with practice it will grow in both quality and efficiency, but not as a result of becoming overly critical of your own work.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Really well said.
    I often have to explain my children that I am a little faster when it comes to some sort of work, because I have done it many times before. But they always seem to lighten up when I tell them that I wasn't able to perform the same task when I was at their age.

  2. Good point. I tell my students that things are easier for me because I'm stronger and I have practiced. And they notice that things have gotten easier for them as they have grown.

    I think that because that growth is both in the body and mind, it is more noticeable for them than to note that they know more spelling words, or can know more facts. And so in a sense, looking back on woodworking as a process serves as a better model for how we learn.

  3. Having grown up as one of those small and skinny kids who wasn't quite as athletic, I can empathize with your student. And we can't even tell him that it gets better at some point, since that doesn't sink in at his age.