Sunday, June 30, 2019

play in the wood shop

Yesterday I got parts of the maple table base finished and trial assembled. The coopered leg sections must be firmly fitted to the white oak stretcher in order to keep the table from wiggling as the 3 inch thick top weighs nearly 200 lbs. While the shape of the legs give some resistance to moving, that I've created interlocking joints and will bolt the legs to the stretcher will assure stable support. The photo shows the table base upside down on the work bench during a trial fit.

All of this is a form of play. I've never done anything exactly like this before in my life which is what makes it fun and engaging. You'll notice the texturing on the leg sections. This was done by making sweeping gestures across the face of the wood with an angle grinder.

All play involves risk. You know you can make mistakes. And because there's risk, you give it your full attention. And because you give it your full attention, you may find yourself relieved of some of the other burdens of life.

Woodworking philosopher David Pye said that there are two forms of craftsmanship. Craftsmanship of certainty is where all things are so well set up that there are no risks of failure, and that little or no human attention is required in the delivery of endless mountains of stuff. Craftsmanship of risk requires human attention. Out of insecurity, and unwillingness to embrace play, we've surrounded ourselves with mountains of meaningless stuff in which very little actual human attention was required in the making of it. We can value one form of craftsmanship or the other. One form embraces our humanity. The other exhibits love for the machine and fear of each other.  What do I mean? "Oh, what will they think of me? Have I gotten the best deal?"

Perhaps we should choose love for each other.

At the Clear Spring School, students are attending summer art camp. The large Froebel blocks are stacked to the side because boys against the girls brought bickering in their play. They will be released from sequester when the children are better prepared for their cooperative use. I'll suggest that they be released one type of block at a time, just as they were introduced in the first place.

Make, fix, and create.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

a summer day

Yesterday evening we went out on a pontoon boat on Beaver Lake with friends and it was our goldendoodle Rosie's first time in a boat. She loves the water as you can see.

Today in my wood shop I'll continue applying finish to parts of the maple table and also begin preparing stock for my upcoming box making and box guitar classes at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.

As Rosie shows, and as we all know the world is a fascinating place deserving our attention. Children and dogs deserve to learn directly from the real world by doing real things.

In conventional schools we crowd too many children into purposely sterile classrooms. We swap kids between teachers, reassigning them to new ones as they "progress." We design schools based on the efficiency of handling kids, rather than to meet the interests of each child. And students soon learn that they must mold themselves to fit in or struggle to escape.

My mother would tell about one of her first Kindergarten students, Dougie Dencker. Her classroom was partly in the basement with windows that were at ground level on the outside of the building. So when she found herself missing Dougie, the other students informed her, "Oh, Miss Bye, he escaped out the window." And how many of us can remember that urge to escape?

When my mother called Mrs. Dencker to inform her that her child was on the loose, Mrs. Dencker said, "Oh, don't worry about Dougie. He knows his way home." He was found a short time later standing in the middle of downtown Ft. Dodge directing traffic. "Dougie" Dencker grew up to be an over the road truck driver. He lived in Iowa, Alaska, Colorado, Kansas and California and died in 2003.

Make, fix and create... Allow for us all to express our individuality, even in schooling.

Friday, June 28, 2019

cheery about cherry...

A friend of mine alerted me to a sale on kiln dried cherry at my favorite sawmill. The lumber is premium with much of it running from 8 to 11 inches wide and the low price per board foot made it enticing for me to buy much more than I'll need for my small cabinets class at ESSA during the week of August 5-9. 

The lumber is already planed to 13/16ths inch thick and while I prefer thicker stock for resawing material for box making, this material will be ideal for the small cabinets I have in mind.

You can sign up  for that class here:

Of more immediate interest is my upcoming small decorative boxes class July 8 through 12. There are still vacancies in each class.

A student this summer who has taken 35 classes at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking told me that my small box making class was the most fun of all the classes he'd taken at the school. Join us for lots of fun.

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

Thursday, June 27, 2019

reprise... a brain on jazz

Today I'll be working in the shop, beginning to finish parts of the base for a large maple table. For your reading pleasure I submit the following, concerning the brain, jazz, and the reading comprehension level of words used in presidential debates.

Make, fix, create, and realize that all children need the opportunity to learn likewise.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

designing to deep

When the teacher is required to stand at the head of the class and deliver lectures that are intended to excite student interest it takes a great deal of time to prepare. You can crowd a hundred students into stadium seating for the live performance (a good teacher can put on a good show), and those students who did not spend their time on facebook might feel inspired to go deeper into the subject area.

Better is when, instead of a teacher telling students what he knows is when he or she presents a subject and inquires of the students what they know or how they feel about the subject, and then offers the tools of inquiry that allow them to go deep. Of course this presents management issues. How can a teacher get the students in and out of class in the allotted time? The teacher is to tread hallowed ground made sacred by millions of years of shared human inquiry.

During our A+ Schools teacher training one of the Teaching Fellows supplied pattern blocks, big bags of them, that we were told to divide equally among groups. Once the bags were opened and the blocks were on the table, we each, without hesitation, began arranging the blocks in rhythm and patterned arrangements.  When our Teaching Fellow Chrissy would call "happy hands" we were asked to stop fooling with the blocks and shake our hands in the air. It was difficult to stop playing with the blocks. Her lessons were for math.

We later used the same blocks to encode poetry, laying out lines from Edgar Allan Poe's poem the Raven, noting with various pattern blocks: rhyme, meter and alliteration. And the point is that at all levels of learning, simple tools and simple questions can lead one into greater depth of learning.

There is a close relationship between inquiry and surprise. We ask questions just hoping for surprise. And when we are surprised (Jerome Bruner's effective surprise) we are inclined to go deep, learning at greater depth. And so a question, please. Is all this sounding like something you would once have found in a Kindergarten class? I hope so. All learning can be like Kindergarten, even and most particularly when it is hoped that we are led to great depths.

Yesterday in the wood shop I resumed work on the maple table.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning likewise.

Monday, June 24, 2019

principles and elements of design...

I'm intrigued by the subject of design enough to make design a regular part of my box making classes for adults. The principles and elements of design are taught in art school, but rarely considered by amateur woodworkers who come from other professions, like medicine, engineering, and teaching.

I'm posting on this subject, because design was at the heart of our A+ Schools training last week.

The principles and elements of design really touch on all areas of human life, and deserve to be taught from an early age, particularly if we want students to be able to self-assess their work or offer constructive (and non-hurtful) criticism to their peers.

The elements of design are usually taught as follows:
  • Points, lines, planes, shapes and focal point. 
  • Scale. 
  • Texture. 
  • Value. 
  • Color. 
  • Space. 
I find it useful to think of the elements of design as being design tools. The word "elements" is abstract and not as useful.

The principles of design are usually taught as follows:
  • Unity. 
  • Harmony. 
  • Contrast. 
  • Proportion. 
  • Rhythm. 
  • Balance. 
  • Visual Illusion. 
I find it useful to think of the principles of design as being goals, as the term "principles" is not as useful to me or my adult students as the word "goals." The elements are the tools you use to reach your design goals. There are additional design goals having to do with function and purpose that are not outlined in the principles.

One of the basic principles of Educational Sloyd is to go from the concrete to the abstract, so in order to get my adult students of grasp the principles and elements of design, I start them out with concrete examples of various boxes I've made and invite them to choose a box that they like and that they are willing to describe to their fellow students, particularly why they chose it. I make sure that they know that their comments either positive or negative are welcome.

That concrete experience then allows for the exploration of the principles and elements of design to not remain a set of abstract concepts. The additional purpose in the exercise is to invite my students to explore their own design tools and design goals before we launch into the full blown class. Two weeks ago my 14 students made a total of 79 boxes in five days. Some had never made a box before in their lives.

One of the most interesting principles of design is that of visual illusion, or as I've renamed it in honor of Jerome Bruner, "Effective surprise." In visual illusion, an oil painter might create a pathway through the woods, across a small creek, through a meadow to grandmother's house with grandmother's rocker on the front porch. We know that it's only a painting and is flat and not the real path to grandmother's house, but it effectively and affectively carries one to a remembrance of grandmother's house.

In effective surprise, applying to 3D constructions like a box, surprise built through the arrangement of texture, color, scale, points, lines, planes and their use in fulfilling other design goals, brings one to a heightened sense of engagement with the object. It can be both effective and affective, touching both the mind and the emotions.

The principles and elements of design are made more useful to the artist through practice and continued observation. And they are as useful if you are designing a lesson plan as they are in making a box.

The box shown in the photo illustrates the use of line (and focal point), rhythm, texture and color as design tools, and the use of balance, unity, imbalance, harmony, and contrast as design goals. As one of the favorite boxes I've made, I'm glad to have kept it as an example. It is made of spalted hickory  and walnut. The principles and elements of design lead to a deliberative process useful in all aspects of education.

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

Sunday, June 23, 2019

thinking outside the educational box.

1. For some, the idea of education is that of controlling kids to keep them out of trouble during the school day.

2. For some the idea of education is to pass children through a process providing measurable results.

For most the purpose of education is to perform a balance of one and two. Where that balance lies will be variable depending on who's watching and who's measuring.

All may have some idealized goal for child development tempered to some degree by what they understand to be reality. For instance, those associated with the Lutheran church in the 1850's in Germany would have wanted to raise and educate children to be "obedient to the word of God." And subservient to that, to be obedient to the state and to the laws of the state.

Friedrich Froebel saw natural forces present in his universe that could be witnessed, known, and understood, and of which he and every child was a part. He no doubt arrived at his perceptions through his observations.

As a very small child he was emotionally abandoned by an inattentive step mother and had to look elsewhere for support. He witnessed mothers' love as a thing absent from his own life. As a forester's apprentice he was awakened to the fascinating beauty and harmony of nature and of which man was a part. As a mineralogist he learned that the patterns of nature were based on an internal order inherent in each thing. As an educator he looked for those patterns of development and internal order to be present in each child. He thus proposed that the point of learning was not to force something in, but to provide the tools that would bring something out. And what was to be brought out was for the child to grasp his or her place in a harmonious universe.

To follow Froebel we must begin to propose deeper purpose, and to accept the fact that we are each connected in profound ways to nature, to community and to each other.

Make, fix and create...

Saturday, June 22, 2019

essential questions.

We finished three days of staff training with A+ schools, dedicated to infusing the arts into the school curriculum. That's a thing we've done quite well for over 40 years, but by being a part of the A+ Schools network, it is our hope that we may end up being of service to others.

So an essential question is "how can we demonstrate the value of the arts in teaching and learning in areas outside 'the arts?'" The arts are thought of by educational policy makers as stand alone. But examine history without the arts, and you'll find an empty timeline of facts, nothing more. Examine math without the arts, and you'll find a line of numbers and formulas with nothing to bring them to life. So what do you plan in an ideal school curriculum, that remains untouched by the arts? Not even lunch.

Another essential question is, "how do we transform American education so that the arts lead the way?" Incorporation of the arts in all aspects of a school's curriculum can enliven learning across the board. A+ Schools, in North Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana offer a path forward toward a dramatic renewal.

I'll add another essential question. I ask you what you can do. Shall I suggest an answer?

Make, fix, and create. Assist all others in learning likewise.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

why does this train have no stops?

I used to sell my work each year at the Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Crafts. Through that show I established a number of wholesale accounts with small galleries across the US.

During the show I would stay each year with my cousin's family at Marion, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. Since my cousin's home was on the commuter train line that connected the suburbs with downtown Philly, I would take the train each morning. It was a lovely and convenient way to go to work.

I noticed, however, that the train would make a number of stops in the suburbs, but then would go a very long ways without stopping. I wondered why. When driving around in my truck, I discovered the reason for it. The train line was built to serve the suburbs, and built to glide past all those who lived in the inner city without stops.

I began to wonder whether the builders of that line intended to shelter members of the suburban elite from the lower classes that occupied the space between. Could not having stops on or off prevent folks of lesser means from intruding on the world of the privileged elite? Just wondering. We live in a society that was engineered to marginalize those who work with their hands.

This may be a difficult subject for some. But let's think about it. Let's figure out how we can build a more equitable society. It can start with every child having the opportunity to learn hands-on the values that the hands impart and that encourage us to respect and care deeply for each other.

Today we have our second day of A+ training for the Clear Spring School staff.

Make, fix, create, and sustain others attempting to learn likewise.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A+ Training...

Today at ESSA we will begin three days of A+ Schools training for the staff of Clear Spring School. With this training Clear Spring will become an official A+ School in the Arkansas A+ Schools network. The purpose of A+ Schools is to integrate the arts into the curriculum. We do that and have done that for many years. But being a part of the network may help us to be of greater use to others in the renewal of American progressive education.

We will become the smallest school to attain A+ membership, but as the smallest school in a network of much larger public schools we hope to strengthen our role as an example to others.

Children need to do real things in school to bring their learning to life. The arts assure that real things happen in school. The arts bring connections between various elements of the school curriculum. Can you learn math in history class? You can when the arts have erased the absurd boundary lines drawn between areas of study, and the arts invite collaboration between members of the teaching staff. Want more reasons why the arts are important? The first rule of educational Sloyd is to start with the interests of the child and children love the arts. Doing real things invites greater student engagement, and thus more effective learning.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in having the opportunity to learn likewise.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

heading home...

I am in the airport at Indianapolis waiting for my return flights to Arkansas. Yesterday at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking I had a class of 19 students to explore the inside of a box. What do we want when we open one? To put things simply, we hope to be surprised. At the very least, we hope to not be disappointed.

As with my five day box making class, I began with the principles and elements of design.

One common mistake box makers make is to buy a bunch of the same stuff other box makers buy to fit out the insides of their boxes to hold jewelry and the like. When you do so, other box makers open the box and may know just where you got what. They may be impressed by how much money you spent, but that's beside the point. When you rely instead on your own creative inclinations, not only do you save money (a single brass post to hold a necklace can cost $5.00 or more at a Rockler store), you may offer the viewer something he or she has not seen before. My presentation yesterday was as much about thinking outside the box, as about finding things to put in it.

When I went to a Rockler woodworking store on Friday to scout out what they had for the insides of boxes, the clerk asked, "Do you want flocking?" Spray flocking to line boxes was the very last thing on my mind.

As an alternative you can go to a Michael's craft store and find an endless array of interesting papers that can do the same thing. The colors are much more interesting, and you can choose a texture that creates a sense of "I haven't seen that before."

Some of this reflects the difference between an "artistic" playful approach to woodworking, vs. a craftsperson's effort to color exactly between the lines.

It will be very good to be home in Arkansas.

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

Saturday, June 15, 2019

inside the box.

Today at Marc Adams School of woodworking I have a class of 18 students interested in thinking and planning inside the box. I'll demonstrate making drawers, dividers and linings and offer a variety of design tips to help box makers make the insides of their boxes as interesting as the outsides.

The photo shows an interesting box made by one of my students a few years back.

My student had a set of Veritas rabbeting planes that he wanted to keep in a special box. The results caught the attention of Lee Valley and was published in their newsletter.

Make, fix, create, and accept the fact that we all learn best likewise.

Friday, June 14, 2019

class conclusion... MASW

We finished our 5 day box making class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking and we set a record of 79 boxes made by students. Tomorrow I have a class on box interiors, and then will return to Arkansas on Sunday.

Make, fix, create and assist others in learning and growing likewise

Thursday, June 13, 2019

day 4 MASW

I'm at Marc Adams School of Woodworking and ready to start day four of classes. A number of my students have read at least one of my books and practiced box making, so we are making great progress.

All the students have several boxes in the works and have learned and practiced a variety of techniques. We all learn best by doing real things and lessons are best absorbed and held fast in the memory when they've been learned hands on.

If the purpose of American education is to teach kids and not to simply restrain them and corral them into conformity, we would allow them to go deep in their learning through the use of their hands.

Make, fix, create and provide for others to learn likewise.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Off to MASW

I am at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport waiting to board my flight to Indiana where I'll teach for 6 days at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. If you want to get good at doing something, do a lot of it. If you want to get even better at it, teach someone else to do it. Teaching requires that you look at things from various angles, and to put what you do in words, which then fertilize the mind and cognitive processes. As my week progresses, I'll have more to share.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning likewise.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

a successful benefit...

Last night we had a very successful benefit for our hands on learning center and have now raised over half of the money for our matching grant of $35,000. First priority will be to turn an oversized two car garage into a new wood shop for the Wisdom of the Hands program. This will involve adding on to one end to create a machine room for materials prep and storage, heat and air, and adding electrical capacity.

The floorplan shows the arrangement of benches, lathes and some tools.

The new permanent home for the Wisdom of the Hands program will provide a place for teaching teachers to teach woodworking.

Today I'll be doing my final packing and preparation for teaching a week at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. I have two classes. The first is a 5 day class on box making and the second is a one day demonstration class on "interior architecture." In that class we will make drawers, dividers, line boxes with various materials, and go deeper into the principles and elements of design.

If you missed the event and would like to contribute, please send your check to the Clear Spring School, PO Box 511, Eureka Springs, AR 72632 or call 479-253-7888 on Monday morning.

Make, fix, create, and adjust education at large so that all children learn through the use of their hands.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Activities planned...

Today, Friday, June 7, 2019 we have a cook-out at our Hands on learning center. Five to Seven PM. A variety of activities are planned and kids are welcome.

On the front porch we'll be whittling, and making pencil holders. Come learn the joy of passing a knife safely through wood while bringing your intent to bear. Then create a personalized pencil holder that you can use on your own desk.

Inside, I'll have copies of my book, "Making Classic Toys that Teach" and a display of objects from that book alongside projects made in the Clear Spring School. If you've wondered about the giant wooden blocks on the Clear Spring School playground, ask, and I'll explain them.

Front porch whittling is a long standing tradition in the Ozarks. Men would sit outside grocery and dry goods stores while their wives were shopping. Or they would come to town on their own to whittle and chat. What were they making, you might ask? The pleasure of passing a sharp knife through wood. I've prepared a bundle of recycled redwood whittling stock.

Bring your checkbook or credit card and help us forward in meeting a matching grant.

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

Thursday, June 06, 2019

an invitation

Tomorrow, June 7, we have a fundraiser and open house at our new hands-on learning center at the Clear Spring School. Of course, the whole school is actually a hands-on learning center, but this new facility will bring additional focus and capacity.  We hope it inspires other schools to grasp the necessity of hands-on learning.

Getting moved in will take place over time. We have a $35,000 matching grant, so aside from my inviting you to attend, I also invite you to participate as a donor. Your contributions to the Clear Spring School are doubled by the match and are tax deductible.

It will have a dedicated area for art and craft, a maker space, a room for video production and editing, a culinary arts center, a space for dance, and a space in which to relocate the school wood shop. Getting moved into the new wood shop requires an addition and modest renovation toward which a large portion of the funds raised will be applied.

The new hands on learning center is adjacent to the Clear Spring School 374 Dairy Hollow Road in Eureka Springs. The open house/cookout/reception/fundraiser will be from 5 - 7 PM and children are invited.We will have woodworking activities for children and adults. Contributions can be mailed to PO Box 511 Eureka Springs, AR 72632 USA. You can also contribute by credit card by calling 479-253-7888.

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

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

localizing education...

The importance of using local resources in education is made clear in a story about Pestalozzi.
Back in the late 1700’s a child in Pestalozzi’s school challenged his teacher, “You want me to learn the word ladder, but you show me a picture. Wouldn’t it be better to go look at the real ladder in the shed?” The teacher was frustrated by the child’s interruption and explained that he would rather not take the whole class outside the building just to look at a ladder. Later, the same child was shown the picture of a window and again interrupted the teacher. “Wouldn’t it be better to talk about the real window that is right there? We don’t even have to go outside to look at it!” The teacher asked Pestalozzi about the incident and was informed that the child was right. Whenever possible children should learn from the real world and the greater depth of experiences it offers.
Utilizing local resources allows learning to move from the concrete to the abstract, to maintain relevance to the child's life, to go deep enough to incite passion. It creates opportunities for service to family and community. It also offers real opportunities for engagement of the hands.

Yesterday in a staff meeting we began planning for the coming school year. To invite collaboration between grade levels, we chose a theme for the coming year from among the four Greek elements. We'll have an earth year that invites the exploration of our Karst terrain, soils, planting, geology, earth sciences, magnetism, how the lands shape human culture and much more and at varying levels of rigor and depth at various grade levels. It also creates opportunities for children to share what they've learned with other classes in the school.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning likewise

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

how things fit...

We are in the process of examining the Clear Spring School curriculum and since we tend to be far more flexible than other teaching environments, we are establishing pillars or anchor points allowing for flexibility, thus describing our methods rather than creating documents that are not useful. Re-examination of the curriculum is an important part of preparing for re-accreditation and it's important that we do what we say we do.

The first pillar (or anchor) is to start with the interests of the child. The second is to plan for integration between grade levels and a high level of coordination between members of the teaching staff. Just these two points are revolutionary in comparison to most K-12 teaching environments. Integration between teaching staff and grade levels makes the educational environment more fulfilling and engaging for all, plus a whole lot more fun.

In my own woodshop, I'm also concerned with how things fit. If you are reading this on Facebook, you'll see only one photo so the second, if you are interested, can be seen in the Wisdom of the Hands blog from which this is automatically shared.

The first photo shows my go-to tool of choice. that I used to square routed channels for the leg sections to fit. This chisel was one that was used in the original Sloyd Teacher Seminary at Nääs as you will see if you look close. The blade of the chisel is stamped to identify it as an original tool made specifically for that school.

It gives me a sense of connection with things larger than myself to use tools like this. The handle is one I made to match the original style. The joint being cut is to connect the coopered leg sections to the trestle that runs along on the underside of the table top. Channels cut in the various parts fits them rigidly and very precisely to each other.

The second photo shows how a leg unit fits the trestle. Perfecto. A shallow channel in the trestle keeps the legs from twisting once they are bolted tightly in place. The deeper channel shown in the photo above is the one that the trestle rests upon.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning and growing likewise.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

bring the tool to the wood

In the age of large power tools in the common woodworking shop, the general practice is to bring the wood to the tool. This is not the case when the wood becomes too heavy to move with ease. The six and a half foot long 2 5/8 in. x 7 1/2 in. white oak board is right at the edge of my ability to lift safely (even through I work out regularly). There was no way to move it safely across the jointer in my shop. I also did not have a bench capable of holding it securely enough for the rigorous exercise of hand planing.

The ideal solution for squaring one edge was to use the power plane shown. It is a lovely and effective tool for the purpose of straightening out a long board. It has an edge guide that helps to hold it square to the stock. Two other things you see in the photo (besides mess) are a combination square used to check for square and a walnut board that I used to check that there were no dips or high spots along the length of the board as my work quickly progressed. The other important tool is the eye. You use it to sight along the edge to make dead certain that the wood is straight over its whole length.

This oak board will connect the coopered leg sections of the large table I'm making in the wood shop. It feels good to step outside of box making on occasion. I learn from it.

I have the first of my bags packed for my trip to the Marc Adams School of Woodworking where my classes begin on June 10.

Make, fix, create. Assist others in growing likewise.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

the definition of self...

Yesterday I visited a friend in the hospital who is dying of cancer. He wanted to talk at length about the ego and how it has nagged him his whole life. It appears to me that the self is only part of the picture, and that we are given the choice of looking at the lines separating us from each other, or we can look at the vibrancy of relationship connecting us with all else. To draw a line on a page is a convenient over simplification of reality and relationship. Lines can be used to define, clarify, illuminate, isolate and divide. If our own definition of self is without boundaries we are better prepared for the dissolution of boundaries that comes at death.

I'm not sure that this is exactly what Friedrich Froebel had in mind. Children who were deeply immersed in nature, in science, in community would be led to a holistic understanding of self that would serve throughout life, even at the end of it, giving the opportunity (and consolation?)  to think one's last thoughts of others rather than for self.

The principles were as follows: Start with the interests of the child and move from the known and proceed toward the unknown, move from the easy to the difficult, from the simple to the complex, and from the concrete to the abstract. These engagements, unlike Bruner's temporary "scaffolding" build a firm and lasting foundation for the child's engagement in life. The ego serves to keep the child's learning on track(or an adult's life on track), but can become the instrument of derangement.

Bob Dylan, beat poet for my generation, came up in my visit with my friend. A line that stuck with me from those days, was "being bent out of shape by society's pliers." Are we not each bent in some ways by the circumstance of growing from childhood to becoming adults?

What can a person say when a friend faces turmoil at the time of passage from life? We are connected with each other if that serves as any sort of consolation. That can be described in words, but is more simply put by being present and awake in each other's lives.

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