16 February 2013

Hoeing weeds and weed wacking grass

Our landlord's teenage son was doing the gardening today. It hasn't been done in like 6 months. He had a hoe, a weed wacker and a broom. He was cutting the lawn with the weed wacker and hoeing the weeds in the patch of dirt that's our front yard.

I felt bad for him. He was completely unengaged. He didn't really know what he was doing either. Or was he simply being resourceful with the tools he had? Maybe. I doubt it.

I pondered his lack of expertise, the lack of guidance from someone with expertise, and access to the right tools. I thought about how disempowering and disengaging such an experience is and what a person learns from it.

I pondered how I learned these kinds of everyday tasks. It was with my father. There was a right way and a wrong way, and he showed you (me) the right way. And you learned too, that if you weren't going to do it the right way, you shouldn't be doing it at all. Too serious maybe, but it's served me well. I learned that there is a right way, a better way and it's something I generally seek out. When I try to do something I'm not prepared to do, or learn how to do "the right way," I find somebody who will, or live with the consequences. I don't wallow or float along. I don't get frustrated any longer than necessary.

I've learned too how to perceive contexts as enabling and disabling people. And I think about how people handle this, and how the way they handle this becomes part of their personal history of learning.