It’s an interesting concept isn’t it? Forget the formal education process and simply self-educate!
Sadly, there are more issues with that concept than I have candles on my birthday cake … and that’s lots but, outside of our respective formal education systems, self-education is a very viable and rewarding habit to get into.
We are, of course, being educated consistently as we go through life. We learn how to treat people according to circumstances because we know that a “one size fits all” adaptation of communication does not work. We soon learn at least two languages. One we use with our parents, and one we use outside with our friends. We learn that not everybody is honest. We also learn that having a regular income solves quite a lot of issues. There are so many life skills which we are learning as we go, but I am not thinking about those for this Post. Those kinds of survival in our culture skills, along with the numerous workplace skills, are almost involuntary and automatic. So where am I going with this?
Allow me to introduce you to David Chappell (my Dad). He completed the obligatory English education process, and decided to go to the Birmingham College of Arts and eventually worked for a theatre group that had shows to produce all over the country. With the arrival of us kids (eventually there were 3 of us), it was decided that a caravan would be more practical than continually finding lodgings as a show moved around the country. This worked fine but, as we got older, stability became a factor and Dad found himself a position at a specific theatre. No more travelling!
When he was being raised, his Dad was employed in construction, so my Dad was exposed to (and learned a bit about) construction. I can remember when I was around 11 or 12, I heard my Dad talking to my Mum about building a house. I recall it being something like ” Well the only way we’ll ever be able to afford our own home is if I build it myself.” When questioned about how that was going to happen given his experience of construction, he replied “There is a library in town, and there are building projects all around us, so there should be no shortage of answers to whatever questions arise!” He built our first brick home!
I like to think that, while I am not that adventurous, I have inherited some of his “go for it/just do it” traits. It has worked well for me as I reflect on my first volunteer position here in Canada, and the subsequent education that resulted. I have had numerous volunteer positions since then and each one has been an education. I am not going to promote volunteerism here, but will just stress the potential education benefits.
Life can be a continual education, and education is a good thing right? I have known quite a few people who had no desire to learn anything new once they had finished school, which I think is very sad. Life can be very complex, and the formal education system cannot possibly equip anybody with all the tools necessary for a productive and rewarding life. Unfortunately, while attending school may well be a mandatory expectation, continuing education after those school years is not.
Motivation does seem to be the key, and my Dad role-modeled motivation to perfection. He brought home many books while building that house, and talked to many local contractors. He also wandered around many construction sites in the evenings to “see how things were done”! His perspective on skills in general was very simple “If I knew what you knew, I could do pretty much anything you can do. The difference between us is knowledge, and knowledge is available to anybody who looks for it.”
Well if you have got this far, then I have a surprise for you because this Post has little to do with ambitious projects or self learning, but does show what a little knowledge and some “drive” can achieve. It is a product of my own making, and is probably the most environmentally friendly garden roller there is … at least around here. The tree that provided the rollers had already been cut down, and the frame was made from left-over pieces of wood from a neighbour’ s renovations.
It just took a little knowledge of carpentry and mechanics, and the drive to do it. Thanks Dad!