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A time to build, a time to tear down

2011-12-22 13.51.10

2011-12-22 13.47.55




2011-12-22 13.47.36


2011-12-22 13.44.38

2011-12-22 13.50.00






With seven days til Christmas I have met my deadline and am finished with the cherry armoire. This has been one of the most labor intensive, ambitious projects I’ve undertaken.  I continue to learn through mistakes and see the value in failure.  I heard someone talking about something called “failure value” the other day and it appeals to me in light of all the things that go wrong in life.  Its ok to mess up as long as I gain something from it and grow through careful reflection.  I like to impress upon my students the importance of learning through mistakes and seeing the value in not getting and answer “right.”  I prefer they see how they got where they are and that there was value in reaching the apparent dead end. I found myself at many apparent dead ends this go ’round.  Holes where there shouldn’t be holes, split boards where no splits were welcome.  All valuable lessons I’ll carry with me into the next project.

As I gave my students their end of course tests this week, I found myself noticing questions on topics I somehow missed during the course of the semester.  The sting of realizing my own personal responsibility for the failure of my students regarding a particular question is very motivating.  There was a high “Failure Value” in that experience.  I now appreciate the importance of a thorough and systematic approach to instruction and will raise my own standards next time I teach that particular subject.

I think like lots of folks, I like to have plenty of control over things and outcomes.  Woodworking is a good exercise in realizing how little I control in the grand scheme.  Things move, swell, crack, don’t fit together, I bloody my knuckles and hit my head on things, inhale too much dust and smash my fingers in the cold (a terrible delayed pain sensation).  I’m sure my experience is not unique, I mean that of frustration and occasional futility.  The constant tug of entropy on our lives.  But what we gain by putting energy back into the system and fighting against it.  The value in failure, the satisfaction of completion.

Posted by John Speier on December 18, 2012
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. 12/19/2012

    A wise man is grateful with each sunrise and sunset.

  2. 12/19/2012

    a wise man is grateful at sunrise and sunset .


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