Friday, September 29, 2017

Man, the symbolic animal...

Yesterday in the wood shop I added lift tabs to lids of boxes, did the final sanding, and applied Danish oil. One more coat of finish will be required, and adding linings will finish them for sale.

For a squirrel, the acorn is just a nut. For a human being it takes on greater meaning, and may symbolize the potential of renewed life.

The hands are not only instruments of our creativity, they are symbols of engagement and symbols as well of our higher selves. When the first mate calls for all hands on deck, he's not asking for the disinterested to saunter up from the hold. He is asking for the full intellect and strength of humanity to rise in full measure to the circumstances at hand.

And so when I say that the hands are essential to learning, I am referring to both the physical hand and symbolic hand.

If you think back to any learning experience that left a deep mark on your framework of understanding you will discover that you were fully engaged at the time, in reality, doing something that required the presence of whole being... that which the hands are the most effective and accurate symbol of.

To put the hands at the center of learning and of schooling is to recognize the full potential of the human soul. We are given these instruments to be of service to each other, and even the very young and very old have need of being useful to their families and communities.

In the "Lovely County Citizen" this week, Dan Krotz wrote about recent research indicating that children are taking longer to develop into adults. "Today's 18-year-olds look like 15-year-olds once did." Dan points out that this might be a good thing, in that teens are no longer sent to the mines. On the other hand, it may be that a steady diet of digital distraction immersing them in fantasy, and a lack of doing real things in school are making them reluctant to engage confidently in real life. Where we are going with all this may not look so good.

Better would be that we simply accept that the hands must be at the center of learning. They have the power to engage us all in learning at greater depth, and to greater lasting effect.

Make, fix, create and assist others in learning lifewise.

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