Craft observation II
A couple of other things my son Joseph reminded me about are influences from parental and educational spheres: The parents influence on their children’s choices is very much governed by their own aspirations and not necessarily the children’s. In most cases the influence is toward higher education because of course the belief universally is that this produces better job prospects within recognized and accepted spheres, and of course where better to receive any kind of education? Many students at university have no clue as to why they are there and less about what they will do when they leave. Success can never be making wagon wheels or hand planes yet there are those I know who are perfectly content to do both and have created well-managed lives pursuing very specific interests and a way of life. Most of them did not drift into their chosen craft but discovered something far more worthwhile and fulfilling than they had so far found in the corporate or business world as programmers, computer operators and software engineers. I love to see young men and women working with their hands for the first time. The initial clumsiness yields gradually to an emerging confidence as their skills increase. Soon, well, they never look back.
Now of the other sphere of influence: Education defers maturing by its powerlessness to discipline students and require mature accountability. Many schools I think have equally narrow margins to stimulate growth within their walls. Some do it, some don’t. Young people need mentoring that rarely happens between peers alone. I would that many could enter the realms of mastering skilled handwork and who better to train them than those working as craftsmen and women. Schools have no way of passing on such mentoring capabilities because of the artificial environs teachers themselves grew up in, which has only minimal connection to manual work.
Wagon building is heavy work and should not be underestimated in terms of physical strength. Jon Tiplady is willing and able to take on an apprentice for a year or two. He could train them capably but some things hinder him. Do you know what those things might be?