Wednesday, June 01, 2016

a quiet day...

Yesterday I returned the grandfather clock we rebuilt at Clear Spring School to its owner, and I brought a box guitar to near completion. I am getting ready for summer classes and the possible visit of an editor from Fine Woodworking to take photos for two articles. There are days when I feel poised on the edge, simply preparing for other things.

A fellow teacher/friend told me yesterday of a lesson he learned from his one-year-old Labrador pup. Tony loves to kayak. Buddy loves to go along. When the dog was younger he could place it on the kayak, and they would go happily along across the water, the dog perfectly content. As the Buddy has gotten older and larger, he does not want to get on the kayak. Tony described trying and trying to get Buddy to get on. Tony described getting angry and frustrated, and as he became more so, the dog became less compliant. Finally, Tony just gave up and allowed the dog to simply swim alongside. They had a wonderful day together.

And I am reminded of how wonderful summer vacations can be. Teachers can become burned out, and subservient to the process when what they need most is to step back and bring their challenges  and opportunities into better perspective.

It pays to pay heed to the natural nature of things. Tony found a parallel in the dog's behavior and his student's participation in class. The challenge of teaching is to do wonderful things together, and to resist the inclination to teach in the same manner in which we were wrongfully taught. That will make little sense to those who've taken administrative positions in which rigid goals have been set to shape them to fit futures we can scarcely imagine. There is a simple saying in the American South, "you can't push a rope." But you can pull one with far less effort.

Friedrich Froebel had said, "let us live with our children." He did not say, "let us live slavishly for our children." And he did not say, "Let's force our children to be like us."

If you are going paddling today (I recommend it) take a dog along.

Make, fix, create and assist others to learn likewise.

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