From Carole Marsh's Georgia Careers Curriculum
. . . . .
I never, ever wanted to be ruler of the world, never expected to be a breadwinner, nor a business owner. How do we get from not knowing much...to being capable and able, even, perhaps, inventive and wise, creators of solutions?
As a "late bloomer," it's a process. However, it is the natural order of things (or we weary parents certainly hope so!), that our children complete twelve years of school, then either go out on their own to college or to work, or to both, and become financially independent, while we whine (for real, or for show) about being "empty-nesters."
I draw no conclusions about helicopter parents or the boomerang generation, who return home, if indeed they ever leave, perhaps for a brief spell, or lawsy help us...forever?
An employer I know complains that kids "don't know how to do anything." I know what he means. I was very discouraged as a child when my mom would not let me wash dishes ("Might break them.") or make my bed ("You don't know how.") or cut the grass ("That's for boys.") or babysit ("You'll probably kill the poor kid!")
But I did get to make a ruler. As I recall, each third-grader got this skinny slip of soft wood; it felt so good in my hand. We had to measure carefully (twice!) and carve once. It's either readable because we colored in the hashmarks, or, more likely, because our sweaty, dirty kid fingers eventually color-coded the marks and numbers with a color that must surely be universally called "kid brown"?
I was never prouder in my life. I had made a ruler! I must have been proud of it, because it is the only item I have left from my long ago schooldays, unless, that is, you count that slightly improved gray matter inside my skull. That, too, of course.
If you can make a ruler, you might not be able to be ruler of the world, but you might be able to be part of the world, to make do, to make a difference—that was the invaluable lesson to me. I went on to make, hmm, let's see: a lopsided apron, a painted drinking glass (mine was very Vegas!), and some other stuff.
My mom never did let me "make stuff" at home and I suffered mightily as a young married woman who did not know how to cook, wash clothes, drive, or most anything else in that day-to-day "Somebody's gotta do it" world. My poor kids bore the brunt of my veneration of "doing," as I started them young on washing, cooking, bed-making, grass-mowing. Will they ever forgive me? Do I care?
We have hands for a reason. And no matter how essential megabites are, there is (in my opinion and probably that of brilliant physicists or neurologists or psychologists, and such), no substitute for using all your senses in a variety of ways to build skills, no matter how messily, until you not only get them right, but they just come second nature.
If I could build a ruler, I could build a business. No person or book told me that. My hands told my head and my heart, long ago, in third grade.
Copyright 2012 Carole Marsh/Gallopade
From The Parent and Teacher's Guide to Helping Students Navigate the Bumpy Road from School to More School, First Job, and Career by Carole Marsh (available September 2012)