Harmonising Upset

…George had one minute seemed fine and the next stormed out the double doors in an almighty thrust of energy fuelled by his anger saying nothing at all to anyone and yet by action saying everything. In three bounds he reached his truck and spun a donut before a tail spinner whipped his trail in the gravel. Everyone stopped, shocked by the outburst, but quickly went back to work. I asked a student next to me what had happened and he said, “He just threw  is plane down and ran out!” There was nothing I could do or say.

At 8am George showed up once more and I thought to myself, ‘Good!’ He marched up to my bench and asked to talk to me, “Outside.” We sat at a picnic table and he tore into me. “I have been in the military for ten years and had the very best training ever and you are the very worst teacher I have ever encountered.” I said I was sorry he felt that way. I have three options for you. You can stay in the course to the end and if you still feel that you have not had the right training I will give you the cost of the course, have your money back for this one and pay for another when you are ready to book. George seemed take aback by the options and the fact that I didn’t defend myself. I also told him that this was the first complaint about my teaching ability even though I had taught the course to thousands of new woodworkers.

Returning to his bench, George continued his work. He was a poor woodworker and struggled to coordinate himself in all that he touched, but I stayed close. Mid morning a woman came and talked to George. They went outside. My phone rang and it was the woman who had just come into the workshop for George. “Thank you for being so kind with George. He asked me if I would invite you and your family to go out to dinner with us this evening? I need to tell you that George  is bi-polar and he is also my husband. As his doctor I am able to help him as I specialise in disorders like this in my daily work.”

Later that evening we met for dinner. George apologised to me and said that he wanted to take back all that he had said. We all enjoyed the evening and the rest of George’s course went well as he gained better understanding of the work and saw the fruit of his hands. I was never phased by anything George had said because thousands of students had said the opposite. We all have room for improvement and of course time to reflect on situations we and others may not understand. Woodworking created a bridge for reconciliation and I took it to polarise what potentially had the possibility of worsening. The outcome was friendliness. What more could I ask for?

71 comments on “Harmonising Upset

  1. The world would be a better place if everyone could default to empathy and kindness rather than be tribal and defensive.

    Well done Sir!

  2. I have edited out this contributors expletive because I disagree with profanity in any form anywhere: Paul S

    George AT one minute seemed fine…

    PLEASE start proof-reading your £#€@@##¢ content. For a grammatical error that severe to bounce up in the very first paragraph is a sign of laziness and an indication to me that this platform is simply a gateway to your monetized offerings.

    Regardless of that revelation, and my diminishing opinion of you as a human being, you could, at the very least proof READ what you intend to publish.

    • Paul’s grammar is entirely correct. Please educate yourself.

      At the same time, maybe you could consider where your sense of entitlement comes from, and why you find it justifiable to be so rude.

    • Darryl if you’re not happy with the free content maybe you should try paying for something you cheap [email protected]&&. Nobody cares about your opinion, perhaps that is why it’s diminishing.

    • Like a number of very creative and talented people Paul may be dyslexic and actually unable to reliably proof his own work. He is obviously a kind person and a wonderful teacher. Give him a break.

    • Darryl – Wow, what an incredibly angry outburst over a typo! You actually had the nerve to judge Paul as a human based on a typo???

      You apparently are the poster child for the grammar police, which still means no value has been offered by your post. Not that you care but I’m much more offended by your use of an obscenity than I could ever be about a typo.

      • Maybe Darryl is bi-polar, give him a break. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I view these posts from Paul more as a journal than an essay and I also am able to comprehend easily Paul’s grammar. Lastly, he is not teaching literature.

    • Grammatically speaking “Rule bending choices demonstrate a command of the language”. Famous authors who frequently committed grammatical errors:
      Jane Austin – double negatives
      Charles Dickens – run-on sentences
      EE Cummings – Capitalization
      William Faulkner – starting a sentence with a conjunction
      HL Mencken – incomplete sentences
      William Shakespeare – ending a sentence with (or independent clause) with a preposition
      Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – the subjective/passive voice
      ( this list is from the online article ” These Famous Authors Made It Okay To Commit Grammar No-No’s”)
      It takes a tremendous amount of courage to put your thoughts and feelings out there as Mr Sellers does on an almost daily basis with his blog. The knowledge he has and is willing to share has been a god send to me and many, many other people. When I decide I wanted to learn woodworking a couple of years ago the amount of information available on woodworking was overwhelming. I was able to find Mr Sellers ( a man with 40-50 years experience who literally put food on the table solely by woodworking. A man so talented he has furniture in the White House. And in spite of this knowledge and experience he is able to not only clearly and effectively teach a raw beginner the how’s and why’s of woodworking but also when to place a well needed “You can do this” when I’m ready to give up in frustration) through the free content (also known as “advertising”. Also known as a “gateway to monetized offerings”) he has provided on his blog and youtube. Without this free content I never would have discovered Mr Sellers and I would have given up on woodworking entirely. An activity that now brings me a tremendous amount of peace and joy ( and still some frustration ;0) ). I gladly pay for any and all content Mr Sellers and his team put out and I hope by me/us doing that they will be able to put out even more content in the future.

    • Seriously, you said this? I completely understand what Paul is saying here and I very much respect him and what he does. I also love his philosophy and skills. I read him, I watch him and I understand him. That is all that is important to me.

    • Hey tough guy. No one here cares. We care about working wood well and growing skills, not conventions of grammar. By the way, I’m an English teacher and could careless how Paul writes. I’m involved in this website because I CARE ABOUT BECOMING A GOOD WOODWORKER! What your mouth too. This isn’t the forum to act like that. Your not proving anything because you use abusive language when you write. Be a man, not a little boy. Your not impressing anyone here.

      • You make a decent point, though your qualification to speak for everyone here is questionable. But an English teacher? I do hope you’re kidding.

        • I think he was deliberately including misspellings, fragments, and other assorted word crimes, to further rankle the grammar nazi and make his point.

          Dear Lord, I HOPE it was deliberate…

    • Trolls. Enriching the internet one post at a time. As grammar is not the measure of a man, the only diminution taking place here is yours, Darryl. I hope you find joy in something, as life is too short for such bitterness.

    • I love to play with the english language. I once read an English publication of a book that contained only words that began with the letter S.

      Seems so sad, sentence structure seemingly subjugates someones sensiablity so scathingly. Surely seeing simple syntax slip shouldn’t spark such scorn?

      Let it go Darryl; there are more important issues in this realm than your personal acceptance or validation of someone else’s correct usage of language.

  3. I was also peeved with the poster who calls himself “Darryl.” He’s a troll – someone who goes onto chat sites or blogs and seeks to start “flame wars.” I was prepared to use Southern USA slang to describe him as a reaction, but held off. I just recently joined as a paying member, and am spending hours catching up on series that I had missed because of my cheapness! I found that I wasn’t enjoying Paul’s delivery, the knowledge he strives to impart, all because I was fuming over the idiocy of Mr. Darryl. It occurred to me that I was poisoning myself. Mr. Darryl is immaterial to my life and to the learning that I’m trying to receive here. I decided I would ignore it, and him, and get on with widening my horizons, happily spending $ for good cause.

  4. Since Paul doesn’t screen profanity, I have the following advice for Darryl:

    Go shit AT your hat.

    I would have given you the proper phrase but wish to further irritate you with my error.

    Cheers!

  5. Wow! I think Paul has found the perfect person to be his editor!
    Err, but maybe after some help with his anger management issues……

  6. the comments this morning are a perfect example of how anger begets anger. Pauls approach to George’s anger may have been lost on some of his audience. I offer them my apologies and a complete refund.

  7. Well, I really think Darryl is a troll, and he/she/it probably got exactly what they were looking for judging by the number of responses. That’s actually OK, though, since what the responses show is what a great community this really is. Nuff said.

  8. I suppose the lesson here, from Paul’s writing and from the comments, is to not take these things too personal, and to at least try to understand the anger in other folk,,,

  9. Three points to be made….

    1) No call for profanity at all. My grandkids do occasionally sit on my lap as I read these.

    2) Mr. Sellers is my woodworking teacher, not my English grammar teacher. Most of us subscribe here and WWMC fore woodworking instruction, not writing techniques.

    3) Mr. Sellers’ article is spot on!

    • Excuse the fat finger typo please…should have said “for” instead of “fore” after WWMC in point 3.

    • Paul G, this saying seems more appropriate than ever for this specific circumstance, and unfortunately, it seems more and more dealings in out in society.

      It is a great relief to come to this family and see the kind communication amongst strangers from all over the world (with very few exceptions).

      • I always heard the aphorism as, “Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and irritates the pig.”

  10. While I have the highest respect for Paul, what he is aiming for through his teaching efforts and his community engagement, I do think that some of the spelling or grammar mistakes in the blogs do contrast with the very high standards which Paul and his team are striving for, and sometimes distract me from the otherwise excellent content.

    I’m wondering if there is a way to have an external party proofread the posts before they go online (I’m not offering to help here, and English is not my first language).

    This is definitely not priority number one, but may reinforce the quality and quest for excellence which is obvious in this blog.

    • Can I suggest you perhaps consider reading the blogs of others. I enjoy my writing because it is always from my heart, carefully thought through to reach an audience I care for in my own unique voice in a special way. Beyond that, as with this answer, it’s the unalloyed sphere I like that goes out uninterrupted. I realise that some typos can indeed be irritating, but for the tens of thousands of people that seem for the main part at least to enjoy it every day I think what I am doing is quite fine. Additionally, my blog realises zero income as we take no sponsorship and sell nothing via it at all, but it already requires substantial input from a staff that obviously gets paid. You suggest a proofreader but say you are not offering to help. How does that help anything? Who do you think could pay for this service my friend? Or perhaps this should be my last blog?
      Also, the effort I put into the blog is not truly any quest for excellence, rightly or wrongly, it’s my intent to be real and to represent as closely as possible my personal, now public, lived life.

      • I came to your site, blog, videos because of your woodworking. I stay because of who you are as a person (that comes through clearly). Don’t change.

  11. Dear Paul please ignore that ignoramus and do continue to do the great work that you do. This is about wood working not typo’s.

  12. Paul, thank you for writing about mental issues most recently. And thank you for your kindness and patience, it affects more than you know!

  13. I really appreciate that Paul shared this story.

    As a retired university teacher who worked with veterans from every conflict from Vietnam to the present, I am pleased, and not the least bit surprised, that Paul responded to face-to-face criticism with kindness and humility. I know he would do the same for any student, yet to learn that he was speaking to a veteran with PTSD makes the story especially touching.

    I have often thought that a person cannot be a very good teacher if they are not also a pretty good person. Four decades teaching in colleges and universities have only strengthened this humbling notion. Paul fits the bill as both a good person and a good teacher. The episode he recounts shows this in full.

    On another matter, and I say this as one who was known for over a half-century as a real stickler for grammar, among other things.

    if the only thing one comes away with from reading this latest post is a thought about grammar, then perhaps this tells us more about the reader than it does about what he has read.

    Just a thought…

  14. Paul, thank you for your continuing efforts teaching traditional woodworking. Please ignore the complaining from the “peanut gallery”; if they are truly offended, they can stop reading your blog and watching your videos! A strong piece of advice from my youth, carried over from my parents and grandparents is: “DO NOT LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH”. The complainers need to give consideration to that advice.

  15. Hey Paul, as someone who reads your books and follows your blog; To say that the quality of your work exceeds expectations would be an understatement.

    As I read through complaints about proofreading I wonder if Darryl or Francious will ever have a quarter million or more followers in any realm. It’s possible that their perfectionism is just a procrastination and failure avoidance strategy. If you never pick up a saw you’re cut will never stray from the line, indeed if one never performs they’ll never fail to live up to their imagined level of performance. For those who venture to learn and grow, we know that doing something poorly is superior to doing nothing at all; because you have to do something poorly before you can do something competently.

    Perhaps this view of Darryl and Francious is less than charitable, but the entitlement of both reaks of professional spectating, armchair philosophy, and Monday night quarterbacking. If I’m wrong about them; I hope they ignore it… If I’m right… well, I hope these brothers will start living and stop spectating before its too late.

    • Hi Benjamin and Paul,

      I must not have communicated my point well, as it was meant to be a constructive suggestion and not a criticism of Paul’s work, thoughts, sincerity or genuine care for the community he created. I’m sorry it came across in a different way.

      To be clear, I am grateful for the blog, and truly appreciate that Paul addresses difficult topics such as the one of today’s blog. It is actually because I care that I decided to post rather than stay silent.

      I have not offered to be a proof-reader because people who live in glass houses (I am referring to myself here) shouldn’t throw stones! I’m happy to contribute to the community in different ways (including translating some of Paul’s video in other languages), but there are thousands of readers of this blog who would do a better spell-checking work that I can hope for.

      • Thank you Francois, I didn’t lump you in with Darryl. His comment was partly funny because he obviously had spent less time proofreading his own input and thereby not holding himself to the same standard he wanted to impose on me and then sad because he made himself unhelpable by his attitude. Truth is we all need help to see our blindnesses, be that grammar or working wood. In my case it’s my love of writing that is second only to woodworking that enables me to promote my first love in craft to then educate others to leave them with the same awareness of its value to life. I like to think they too will strive to achieve same knowledge and skill I have over 50 years in much less time by not having to remove the haystack of misinformation. Perhaps my response was too hard, but with many of the things I undertake, it usually costs me more to produce it than it generates in income. My blog of course takes me the longest in time to write compared to our filming and editing for woodworking masterclasses and then YouTube together. We basically rob Peter to pay Paul but not this Paul. I’m grateful we can afford to have this input into the world of woodworking that counters what would be a total handover to a mass-making commerce otherwise.

        • Paul,

          I’m a woodworker and self-confessed grammar pedant. I’d be happy to proofread your posts (pro bono) prior to publication if it would help you.

          • Mark, thank you for this genuine offer. The issue for me is not the proofreading and grammar but the reality, the realness and staying close to my original thought that worked for in my mind at the time of writing. To be honest, in my blog, I really don’t care about the grammar but I really care about my being as real as a I can. Even the distance of typing down my thoughts creates a gap between brain and pen the creates the possibility of losing the thought even in part. Therefore, without wishing to offend you or even the careless as in don’t care’s such as the Darryls of this world, I’d like to keep control of what is rightfully mine. I take total responsibility for my blogs and I have enough close people around me who love me enough to point out where they see that I might possibly in some way have been in at all offensive or hurtful that I might just miss. I truly hope that this does make sense to you and to others too.

  16. Dear Paul. First of all I would like to say Thank You Sir. You have put your heart and life into what you believe to be your calling and no one has done more to do what you have done. You have helped thousands of people find a place in life that they can call there own. I congratulate you on your work and for you sacrifice of all that you have given and given up. Again I say Thank You my friend
    John

  17. Earlier I considered writing something really mean spirited and nasty about Paul, then put a /sarc tag after it. The point being it’s really easy to write something nasty and then hide behind Mother Internet’s skirt of anonymity.

    But I enjoyed Darryl’s post. Accusing someone who champions buying used tools and Aldi chisels* as a blatant tool monger, well, that line had me laughing so hard I almost sent the laptop to the floor. One of the funniest things I’ve read in awhile.

    Keep up to good work Paul and pay no attention to the spineless weasels.

    -Tom Stenzel

    *Full confession: I bought a set of Aldi chisels on Paul’s recommendation. I don’t regret it.

  18. (apology in advance for the very long reply)

    Though I have nothing but praise for mr. Sellers, I have been frustrated with some of my former teachers myself, approaching the point of frustration of the gentleman you describe in your post.

    Most of the teachers at mech. eng. school were adequate; some excellent; and a few just plain lousy if not outright incompetent. One particular teacher comes to mind – he was a fine construction designer but a lousy teacher of construction. Or AutoCAD, which he also gave a course in. Now, let me explain that before I went to mech. eng. school I had a friend who taught me the basics of AutoCAD – we spent about 2-3 hours with it. About two years later I was taking the AutoCAD course in school – in the mean time having spent absolutely no time or effort with it since that crash-course of my friend.

    Mr. M knew nothing about the AutoCAD 2000 software, it quickly became clear to us evening-school students. Whenever I had a problem I’d ask mr. M, who would walk back to his own PC to try to find out the answer. I usually solved my own problems before the teacher did (and though this is the best way of learning, this wasn’t his intention – it just took him longer to solve it than it took me). This happened a few times, up till the point that not only I didn’t bother asking mr. M questions anymore, but other students started coming to *me* instead of the teacher with their problems/questions. I considered this very worrisome, as I only had spent a few hours a few years earlier with any CAD software….

    About a year later, the same mr. M was teaching a construction course – the topic he actually knew a lot about. Too bad he couldn’t transfer his knowledge. Many students failed his courses multiple times, usually very miserably. The ones that passed got 6’s (i.e. ‘barely’ pass). I took the exam 3 or 4 times, usually knowing I’d fail terribly because his syllabus was incomprehensible – not explaing why to do something; no proper analysis of the problem and which major steps to take in its solution. I had complained a few times to the teacher. I complained to the school director. Nothing happened.

    Then the moment came for the last opportunity to take the exam – if failing, one would have to take entirely new classes (basically, a new course that would replace the old one). Again, studying I got very, very frustrated. Until out of sheer frustration I got to the point that I decided to entirely memorize ~150 pages of detailed mathematical calculations; every step of every problem. (the exams were usually a problem from the syllabus itself, but with slightly different numbers). Got very angry with myself at having to do this but it appeared to me to be the only way I could pass the exam.

    Then the day of the exam came up. I sat down, looked at the paper, recognized the problem, ‘looked up’ the same problem in my memory and started writing – for an hour and a half, continuously, non-stop, basically copying from memory the answer to the problem from the syllabus, only occasionally having to plug in the correct numbers in my calculator and then writing those numbers down. I wrote continuously – no pauses, made no mistakes that needed correction, didn’t have to re-trace any of the steps. Non-stop recreating from memory the solution in the syllabus.

    Two minutes before the end of the exam I was finished. I didn’t have time (as I usually did) to check for errors and make corrections.

    A few weeks later we got the results of the exam. As usual it was carnage – about half of class had 1’s, 2’s (i.e. ‘perfect F’). Another half had 5’s and 6’s (a 5, though ‘no pass’, could be compensated for by other courses – which many students relied upon for this exam). And there was one person who got a 10 (i.e. perfect A). Me.

    The professor walked up to me and smuggly said, ‘Congratulations. So now you see for myself, my classes/exams aren’t as impossible as you claimed earlier! You’re the first one to have made one of my exams perfectly, without errors. You see now how wrong you were?’

    That remark did the trick. I was furious, though I didn’t let it show. But I did respond.

    I explained to him how I passed his exam – that I had not learned one single iota about construction design. That all I did was copy the book from memory. That I did this perfectly, without error, writing as fast as I could and still had only 2 minutes of time left. What chance did that really give any student who hadn’t memorized an entire book as I had? I told him I had learned nothing from his courses. That I was now not a construction designer, by far. That I wouldn’t trust myself to solve a problem in that area (where real lives might be at stake if the construction failed). That all I had done was ‘monkey see, monkey do’. And if that, he thought, was a good way of teaching, then he had succeeded marvellously.

    This was not the response mr. M expected after me having attained the ‘perfect grade’.

    Mind you, I did stay polite all the time – I consider letting go of one’s emotions to be incompetence – but I made absolutely no secret of what I thought of his teaching abilities, no matter how good a construction designer he might be. I don’t recall it but knowing myself I probably also reminded him of the AutoCAD course (for which he had already earlier ‘apologized’, as it wasn’t his field of expertise, as he himself admitted. But in my opinion, if a student with 2-3 hours of ‘experience’ knows more about the topic than the teacher, then I see that as a big problem)

    I’ve had a few teachers that were mediocre. But never one that was as lousy as mr. M. Fortunately, there were also a few *very* competent teachers. My materials sciences teacher comes to mind. Very knowledgeable, but also very competent in transferring knowledge. And critical thinking. I recall that, after graduating, one of these excellent teachers told me that, when they knew that they had me in class that evening, they’d prepare themselves ‘a little better’, for they knew they could expect questions that evening. I considered that remark a compliment, though I’m not entirely sure if it was meant as such….

    I’m not going to excuse the behaviour of the person in mr. Sellers’ post, but I do know I can very much relate to the feeling of frustration at a bad teacher.

    Though personally, I think mr. Sellers to be one of the top-tier teachers I’ve encountered. I voluntary visit his sites and view his videos for the wealth of knowledge and experience that is so patiently transferred. E.g., instead of simply telling to use a knife-wall, taking the time to explain *why* to use a knife-wall; and when a knife-wall is not necessary. I personally have a much easier time remembering something when I know *why* I’m (not) supposed to do something. And I like too how mr. Sellers often shows several different solutions/methods/tools for a problem.

    I do not like feeling as a monkey, simply doing something by rote without understanding the ‘why’ of it. That tool between one’s ears is the most important tool of them all.

  19. These are such a very interesting responses to Paul’s thoughtful writing.
    It has got me thinking a bit. I travel often for work and I accumulate a fair amount of airline miles. One option that I have with those miles is donating those miles to someone in need.
    How about we (who volunteers to) donate a few of our woodworking masterclass credits to those in need? I refer to Paul’s anonymous offering of a paid for on site class.
    If this “pay it forward” gives someone benefit, so be it. I would be happy to see someone take advantage of them. I am fortunate enough to have more credits than I need. I really don’t need all of them and would like to anonymously donate a portion of them to a deserving individual.
    I have a feeling there are more a lot more “Darryl’s” out there that would appreciate this small gesture.
    Paul and team: please consider and of course, work out the details that are feasible to you. Maybe for us subscribers to woodworking masterclass, have a DONATE icon with a value amount.
    I would love to discuss further if needed.

  20. To make it short: I am Austrian and I understood the message of this blog. I am eager to learn woodworking for fun, not for incoming issues. So normally I take myself back.

    And – I do not count letters or grammar issues. The first I loose some myself, the second – oh I surely cause them.

    Keep the good work on and do not feed the troll. It is about woodworking and lifestyle.

  21. Good story Paul and a lesson to us all. A parable. Perhaps Darryl’s post is intended to test us. Pedentary is probably a form of OCD. Anger, lack ingratitude and disrespect all seem wholly unnecessary and inappropriate on any woodworking website or blog, not least this one. You have to wonder what is going on in the poster’s mind/life.

    Kurt Schultz, kudos. 🙂

    “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” – Albert Schweizer.

  22. My university physics teacher, Hugh Young, was one of the greatest teachers I ever had. More importantly, he was one of the kindest people I ever knew. He gave one of the first exams we had as freshmen. Knowing many would be nervous about their first university exam, he showed up in the cafeteria at 7Am and wandered about, looking for his students to see if there were any last minute questions. At Thanksgiving, he let everyone know that anyone who couldn’t get home for the holiday was welcome to join his family for dinner.

    I had another teacher like this. His name was Paul. He joined us most days for lunch. He came to our benches, answered our questions. He worked with us until we were able to continue on. Just like Professor Young, though, he set expectations for what could to be achieved and did so by example. He set expectations for us to make our own efforts and to take responsibility for our progress.

    High standards, patience, incisive feedback, and mutual respect, all tempered with kindness is a good recipe.

    Keep writing, Paul.

  23. It is a small person indeed who tries to make himself feel greater by anonymously belittling those around him.

    That said, I may be like others in that I read Mr. Seller’s blog posts in the same voice that I’ve come to know from the many wonderful videos I’ve watched over and over. As such I didn’t find anything wrong with the article as it seemed perfectly at home in the unique “Sellers style” I’m so comfortable with, especially since British idioms and phrasing are often different than what I am accustomed to hearing every day. I was also more interested in what was being said than how it might have been written.

    The way Mr. Sellers handled this difficult student speaks volumes of his commitment to passing on his hard-won knowledge and love of the craft to everyone who will listen and learn. We all benefit from that knowledge and his example. I know I don’t always have that patience and grace when I encounter a difficult student but I’m learning a non-woodworking lesson about that today.

  24. Daryl,

    Fortunately we are all unique some use one side of the brain and some the other some may be able to use parts but not all of both.

    I openly admit I am little use at written English and yet I am proficient with Maths, Physics and Chemistry and indeed have had a very successful career as a design Engineer.

    I have seen people who struggle with very basic Algebra which bemuses me and yet I wont and should not judge them for it because we each as people of different abilities contribute to make society whole.

    I am unsure why you would make a judgement about a man who should you bother to check YouTube has been extremely generous with his time and desire to pass on his skills to others irrespective of background or ability.

    Paul please keep up your generous contributions to make us all better people be that with skills or observations of society.

  25. I’m a bit sad the content of this post has been hijacked in the comments. There’s so much you have to teach Paul, beyond woodworking, and I do enjoy posts like this one. It seems that in life when we have insecurities, we become defensive and angry much of the time, but when we’re not trying to prove ourselves, we can empathize instead.

  26. Paul Sellers, your response to George was perfect and wise.

    “A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” Proberbs 15:1
    Also: “He that refuseth instuction despiseth his own soul, but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.” Proverbs 15:32

    Bipolar disorder is a legitimate disability, so I’m not judging George for having it. That said, I’m surprised he managed to stay in the military for ten years. Usually, someone with his behavior pattern would be discharged, or would resign in a fit of anger. However, his condition may have been milder then. I’ve been told that many bipolar people only exhibit hypomania (lots of energy, basically) until (very roughly) their early thirties, and then they switch to full-blown bipolar mode (cycles of mania and depression, which can be either long or short). Bipolar people are at high risk of suicide, so it’s truly a life-threatening condition.

    Anyway, thanks again for treating that man with kindness and understanding instead of defensiveness and/or anger.

  27. Paul,
    As a teacher I appreciate good grammar. That being said I do not judge another by their misuse of grammar or their proper application of it. I agree with your sentiment that staying close to the heart of the matter is what is important. I do not police myself with regards to grammar. Sometimes improper grammar, and spelling for that matter, shows the rawness of the moment and feeling. I take note of grammar and put it into context. What was the person trying to say, and does the grammar inhibit that from coming across. I’ve never had that problem when I read your blogs. Sometimes I wonder if it’s cultural and not grammar. Being from America I could look at the spelling of color (English colour) and say, “That man can’t spell!” I DO say, “It’s a different country and that IS correct.”
    Regardless of grammar and spelling, I truly appreciate your teaching and have benefited immensely from it. My wife is having a silent auction to raise money for her school choir and I am making several Shaker style candle boxes and dovetail boxes for the auction. I enjoy the woodworking and do not feel intimidated by any project anymore thanks to your teaching.

  28. I’m not often moved to comment here.

    Who would have thought a conversation about woodworking would turn to philosophy.

    Being less than perfect is what makes us human.

    In anger, it’s easy to forget we have choices, or to make a choice we regret.

    Sadly we’re often judged by the choices we make at those times.

    It takes real courage to admit our own mistakes, and to forgive others.

    Everyone deserves a chance to redeem themselves.

  29. This is a remarkable story, one that shows the strength one of high consciousness has. Yours is an example the world could study. It reminds me of a story in a book entitle “How Can I Help?” by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman. Along similar lines it involves an Aikido Master, an old man and a guy much like George. Having the requisite internal fortitude to be present in the manner you displayed is what all of us can do if we only begin the work. Kudos to you and yours and best wishes to George and his family!

  30. I won,t write much because my spelling and grammar is atrocious. Wouldn,t want to offend the spelling and grammar GODs, but l have been attempting to be a woodworker for over 50 years. I love anything Paul does and says. I learn something every time I read or watch Paul at work or on his Blog. When you stop learning you are dead or too arrogant to learn. My passion is woodworking not criticizing grammar.

    Paul keep doing what you have been doing so those of us who want to learn can continue to do so.

    At 72 I am not too old to learn

  31. I love Paul’s site and priceless and totally unselfish advice.
    I am not aware of another craftsman who so willingly shares his knowledge, and takes the time to regularly write about it.
    Please continue your great writing, videos, and any of your talent and skill you are prepared to share with us.

  32. I don’t come here to learn about grammar. I come here to improve my hand tool skills and hear what Paul has to say about life in general. Maybe i’m biased because I share the same outlook, but if you don’t like it don’t read it, go away. To much pointless criticism in the modern world.

  33. Dear Paul.
    I’m sorry to read about Darryl.
    What a mis-guided fool. I hope the hyphen is correct!

    Lazy? I don’t think so.

    As far as “monetized value” is concearned, I can’t even put a value on the education I have received from your videos on YouTube. I haven’t paid a cent!

    Keep up all your good work, and I’m positive that everyone except Darryl appreciates your efforts.

    Sorry if I made any unacceptable grammatical errors!

    Joe/ Hanford, Ca.

  34. Dear Paul,

    I’ll start by apologizing if you our somebody else find any grammar mistake in my comment. But being Brazilian ,which means English isn’t my first language and it isn’t even close to any other Latin derived language, I perfectly understand your posts and all the nuances and figurative meanings you incorporate in the text to express your thoughts. I really enjoy reading it. I was “introduced” to woodworking when I was 5 years old (1983) by my grandfather and he gave me a toll box with some basic hand tolls (which I still have them and now I have passed to my soon (also 5), and I started playing with them following my father when he was doing basic home maintenance. I didn’t have any woodworking class in my primary and secondary schools but I was always intrigued by handmade wood objects/buildings and people’s skills for building something with their own hands. Until today, there are very few woodworking books and magazines available in Portuguese (almost none), so the internet has brought the opportunity to reduce that physical distance among people, INFORMATION and business. I’ve been following your work/information since you have posted the first couple of videos on youtube, and this content has inspired me and answered so many questions that I couldn’t find them anywhere else.
    As far as I know a blog is the writing version of a vlog, where bloggers and vloggers use their informal own words to communicate with their audience. If somebody is looking for a peer reviewed technical publication, there are some woodworking magazines and books published in a crystal clear formal English from Northern Hemisphere (with excellent content by the way, but it is a different media, no interaction with their audience).
    Thank you again for all of your and your team effort to keep up making and sharing this content. I’m very excited with your new shop/studio/office and I’m looking forward to see all the new projects coming soon.
    Very kindly,
    Bruno Mazzer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *