Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What Is Special About Learning

Gonna have to keep after it, this jar of journal, if I am to finish by year's end.  So.  Onward.

What special skills did you learn as a child?  Who taught you?

Nothing immediately jumps to mind on those questions.  I could talk about reading, but I've already blogged about that here.  And I wouldn't classify that as a special skill, necessarily.  I mean, reading is widely taught to almost all individuals throughout the world.  Getting at a more specialized skill that I learned is going to be difficult.

And don't misunderstand me-- I believe reading is a very special skill that is so very important.  But my feeling here is to try and focus on a skill or skills that were unique to my experience.  That's how I'm interpreting the word special, in this case, anyway.

For some reason one of the first things I thought of was fishing with my dad.  He taught me how to bait a hook, cast the line, "troll", and even clean fish.  Not everybody knows how to do such things.  In fact, I know people who shy away from such things, are squeamish of cleaning fish.  I guess I can understand that, but it's something I think one can overcome with a little care and patience.

We used to fish off the bank of the lake at Lake Shasta, back when we had a cabin up there.  Some years the drought was such that there wasn't any water in the part of the lake closest to our cabin.  But other years were better.  There was one day that we fished out there about the entire day.  I think that was the time that I ended up with about forty mosquito bites around my neck and shoulders, as we fished into the evening and as the sun went down, the bugs came out in full force.  And I was wearing a tank-top, so a lot of skin was exposed.  Very itchy.

Let's see.  I learned how to ride a bike... how to do yardwork... how to fire a rifle... Still, I just am not coming up with something that satisfies my feeling for the unique, special skill that I'm looking for here.  I learned things when I went to YMCA camps-- that's where I fired the .22 rifle.  I learned arts and crafts there too, carving a little something out of a piece of sandstone, weaving vinyl strands into a lanyard/key chain... making "godseyes" out of yarn and popsicle sticks... I learned to cook fairly early in my childhood, cooking with my mom and in the 3rd grade, when my babysitter took a group of kids out of the classroom and cooked each week in the school cafeteria.  We then made up recipe books for Mother's Day out of all the recipes we had done.

I learned a lot about tools and craftsmanship from my dad.  Dad had a lot of tools and was very crafty and industrious, designing and building things all the time.  From him I learned about channel locks, socket sets (both metric and standard), vise grips and other pliers, wire cutters, soldering irons, measuring squares, drills, saws, hammers, screwdrivers, allen wrenches, tin snips, electricity meters, stud finders, mollies, woodscrews, finishing nails, and many other special things.  I learned to have an attention for details and safety when dealing with such things.  I learned to respect tools and take care of them.  Although I don't think I ever did as good a job of it as Dad did.

I guess I could say that I learned a lot of special skills from my mom and dad that I use to this day and into the future.  Thanks for all that, mom and dad.  You guys rock.

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