Saturday, February 13, 2016

Tinker, Tailor


I have great admiration for people who fix things. Whether mechanical or electronic, I watch folks dive in with confidence and tinker with this or adjust that, try stuff out and emerge victorious. But I’m not one of them.

One of the gifts of studying about multiple intelligences is recognizing that none of us are equally adept in all of them and can therefore forgive ourselves if we can’t stop the toilet from running, but can do a decent job playing Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.” I long ago gave up on my mechanical aptitude and felt perfectly happy to pay car mechanics, plumbers, electricians and to ask for help from computer folks.

But such forgiveness for one’s shortcomings can also be a kind of laziness and giving up too soon on your potential ability to figure things out. I put out my helpless-self-call to the world in the last blog to fix my Facebook problem and blog font problem, and lo and behold, stumbled into solutions for both of them! All by my itty-bitty-self! Neither required sophisticated skills and prior knowledge, but they did demand some imaginative analysis, attentive focus and trial-and-error attempted solutions. And both worked!

So I count that step up to Mr. Tinker amongst the day’s satisfactions, right next to the effortless skill as Mr. Tailor stitching together disparate cloths to create a coherent tapestry filled with color and warmth. I have great workshop activities cultivated from over four decades of work, reasonably good musicianship to make them come alive, good enough social skills to create an atmosphere of fun comraderie. But perhaps the best tool in my toolbox (or needle and thread in my sewing kit) is my interest in and ability to reflect on what’s going on and sew together material with pedagogy with philosophy with the details of human development.

I am happy to bypass Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggarman, Thief, which lands me a score of one out of eight for the nursery rhyme’s view of career choices. But as long as I can announce this in the right font and post it on Facebook, I’m happy.

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