Modern society encourages the ‘want it, get it now’ way of life, we identify a need, we buy the product and so we solve the problem. However there is little personal growth in this way of life and this expected immediate resolution is something we encounter often with our students.
The Power of Persistence
One of our students had been working on the planning of a fishing trip, over the last few weeks he became more frustrated at what he saw were obstacles to this trip. He seemed to believe we had set him these tasks to avoid running the trip at all, so the previous week I sat with him and worked through his To Do list and encouraged him to complete a Risk Assessment (RA) for the activity (this was the last item he had to do before going fishing).
We compared his RA to one from a commercial fishing lake, his had only missed one or two points. Planning for the actual trip could begin.
This week he and other members of staff worked on the actual trip, this left me with a dilemma what could I work on with him? I did some research on green woodworking and found several videos on how to make a fish dispatcher (used to quickly kill the fish) and which wood to use.
Having identified a suitable piece of Holly to use the student removed it from the tree with a folding saw, this took quite some time as Holly is a dense wood to work.
Once the piece of wood was cut to length, giving two pieces to work on, he began by debarking the wood with a draw knife. This proved a lot harder than anticipated and he quickly became frustrated and I was concerned that he would give up. I sat next him working on the other piece and I commiserated with him on how difficult it was to remove the layer of wood underneath the bark, this seemed to refocus his efforts and we shared our thoughts on how the work was going.
I drew his attention to the wonderful colours of the wood, I hadn’t realised that Holly had such fantastic colours, green and pink, in its grain.
As we went on he offered suggestions to solve the problem of removing the knotty bits and I enthused as to the smoothness of the worked wood. We talked about other things as we worked; things we noticed, ideas and advice.
He changed the shape of his piece so that it wood fit his hand, even drawing around his fingers to mark the wood. Once satisfied with the general shape he then sanded it concentrating on the edges.
He really liked the smooth feel of the wood and he finally agreed that it had been worth the persistence and effort. When he had decided it was finished he enjoyed showing off his work to others.
This satisfaction and pride that he expressed and showed would not have happened if we had just bought a fish dispatcher.