Sunday, June 15, 2014


A traditional Norwegian cake
My wife and I are in Bodo, Norway for the marriage of a friend. The wedding and reception were yesterday, and were beautiful and fun. We are so pleased to be here and were also pleased that our daughter was able to join us as a bridesmaid from New York.

I sat last night on the deck of our host's home, drinking fine Cuban rum at 2 AM with the sun not having set.

This is a lovely place. Most of the buildings were built following destruction in a Luftwaffe attack in 1940 that nearly leveled the old city of Bodo. Its setting is strategic, having a huge tidal estuary, and being close to shipping in the North Atlantic from around the Murmansk peninsula. I look forward to spending some time walking along the water front and looking at old wooden boats.

My host, Hans Christian (in his 50's), took Sloyd in school, as was required for all children in school, and as is still the practice here, today. He says things have changed somewhat. Students in Sloyd now find much more emphasis on design, and personal creativity than in building models and developing skill, but still, they have retained the idea that the development of hand, eye and mind are concurrent and mutually reinforcing and that doing real things establishes relevance in academic learning.

I have said nearly everything I  could possibly say on the subject, but I repeat myself, in the hopes that new readers will let their thoughts travel from the beating of their hearts, up from their chests into their shoulders, down arms and elbows to the marvelous instruments attached at the wrists. We are as Anaxagoras had said, the wisest of all animals because we have hands, and when we design educational processes that forget the essential relationship between hand and mind, we create cripples in our society and at both ends of the economic spectrum. Citizens who have lost touch.

Last night I was telling a friend about the concept of finger blindness... that if we fail to educate children in the creative use of their hands, we leave their moral imperative less than fully developed. It's  a new concept that most people have not thought about. But craftsmanship is a moral exercise, and when we create useful beauty as an external form, we too are shaped in the process. It is something the early practitioners of Educational Sloyd understood, but a thing that too many educational policy makers have forgotten.

Make, fix and for god's sake, create...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:43 AM

    If your still in Bodo look up Johann Hopstad, a Norwegian tine maker he has written several books on "Tine" and "Näver" (Birch Bark)