you failed… that’s great !

As a parent one discovers there are many unforeseen lesson’s you endure, while stumbling down the path.  One of which is allowing your children to fail, but allowing them to learn how to deal with it.  As caring human creatures we typically tend to intervene in ways that prevent it.  But to be honest I wonder if it is to avoid our own emotional discomfort rather then the child’s.

My son has taken up wood carving. I think it is a reaction to the Indiana Jones phenomena that is washing over us like the sun as a cloud completes it’s eclipse.

Somehow he has managed to find a cast off piece of 2×4 and locked it into our Black & Decker Workmate.  Then position it in the driveway and proceeded to carve a wooden idol that he claims he will paint gold when he is done and hide it around the neighborhood.  In the process fabricate maps, collect artifacts and don a vintage beaver felt Stetson Moose River fedora of mine.  Sounds like a great way to spend a summer… I wish I was a kid again.

I have given him enough direction on this “art” to minimize trips to the emergency room but that’s about it.  I firmly believe that learning through experimentation is a better teacher than someone doing it for you while you watch.  As I observe from afar (without him knowing of course) I have witnessed him slip and slice, whittle and chip, carve and crack… pieces off that he had no intentions of removing.  Several times during this effort he has come to me with idol in hand and said “we can just glue that back on right dad”?  In the process he is gaining first hand knowledge of grain direction, tool sharpness and the laws of force vs. finesse.

At some point during the week I was up late watching video clips from the TED conferences and came across this one from a gentleman named Sir Ken Robinson.  The content is timed amazingly well with my son’s wood carving episode.  This is about a 18 minute video but well worth it.  The content and the delivery is priceless.  Enjoy.

(click image to link with video)

Photo of Sir Ken Robinson: courtesy of the TED web site

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2 thoughts on “you failed… that’s great !

  1. You tried – that’s great!

    You found out one of the ways that doesn’t work – that’s great!

    This task may take a thousand attempts – that’s great!

    Robinson’s talk was excellent. The ideas keep resurfacing. Think of Montesorri. Learn hands on. Meanwhile, thousands of teachers and staff have been fired or received dismissal notices in California.
    The state can’t afford them.

  2. What a great way to express oneself – through the creation of an artifact. I trust you will covet this idol and place it among other worthy artifacts of your son’s childhood. I was plesantly surprised recently while using my sister’s restroom here in Portland; she had a small piece of wood in her bathroom on display…one with burn marks which spelled out her first name – something I had created for her while sitting around the campfire and using a fire ‘poker’ (what ever that is) to brand the individual letters into a ragged piece of pine. 35 years had passed, and there in front of me was my past, and something she cherished.

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