Tuesday, November 22, 2011

late blooming...

We live in a world in which so much pressure is put on children to perform. Reading was once a gentle thing, learned at the pace of the child, but now children are considered failures if they are not reading and writing in kindergarten or first grade. Jim Henry is 98, but was unable to read or write until he was 96. In the nursing home friends learned that he was illiterate and began to teach him with the gentleness with which reading and writing should be taught in the first place. He then began writing his history and now has published a book about his life as a fisherman. He had been a lifelong lobsterman and the captain of 3 fishing vessels.

So now Jim Henry describes himself as the happiest man in the world. He is a late bloomer.

I saw a news segment on the new director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde. She had gotten in trouble in a speech in which she had informed the nation of France that they are "thinking too much," not giving enough of themselves to direct action. Isn't that the way of things? We get balled up in positions like those taken by our "Super Committee" in Congress, in which they pretend to think and think about issues and end up doing nothing except protecting their own personal self interests.

It is time for us all to become late bloomers. Take matters in our own hands. Solve real problems. Take our children to wood shops where they can learn that actions speak louder than words.

On a related note, Thomas Thwaites, had noticed that he could just about do diddly squat, so he decided to see if he could actually make a common household object which he did in the Toaster Project. Of all the thousands of common household objects he settled on a toaster because Doug Adams had described a character inThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Mostly Harmless as follows:
"Left to his own devices he couldn’t build a toaster. He could just about make a sandwich and that was it."
We are moving rapidly into the age of our incapacity. While Captain Jim Henry could pilot vessels and return safely to port year after year with his catch without knowing how to read and lived to tell about it in his first book. Our children, in stark contrast will be much like our politicians, capable of diddly squat. Give them real life experiences on the other hand, and they may read and write when they have interests to pursue and something worth writing about.

Make, fix and create...

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