Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Creating active interest.

The following is from Craftsman of the Cumberlands quoting a conversation with Chester Cornett:
"Do you think it takes a special talent to be a chairmaker?" I
asked Chester.

"I don't b'lieve so," he said.

"You think anybody could be a chairmaker?"

"No, I don't b'lieve just anybody could... too hard a work."

"Does it take some special skill?"

"Yes sir, it does. It takes a skill specially for, uh, you got to
learn how to use that drawin' knife—use it just right to take off
hick'ry bark with or whatever you're making." (Though other
chairmakers used a drawing knife much less frequently and for
fewer tasks than Chester did.)

"Can anyone learn how to use a drawing knife?"

"I'd say so, excepting uh, you got to learn to get interested in
anything to learn it... you have to learn to get interested in a
thing like that before you could learn it. And anyway, I b'lieve
anyone could learn how to use a drawin' knife and do that

"Anybody could learn how to be a chairmaker, then?"

"Well, yes, they could, but they'd have to learn to be interested in that first.
You can take an idle interest in something, google it and get more than enough to quench your interest in seconds. You can race from one idle interest to another for years. When you click the window closed, you can walk away unchanged. You can take an active interest in something and it can lead to years of effort, challenge, and reward. So how do we restructure our schools to go from idle interest to active interest? Leading our children in directions of active discovery? It takes the hands. The photo above is of one of Cornett's more conventional rockers.

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