No I am not going back to school. However as part of a blog circle that is the theme for this month.
When the topic was posted i had no idea on what to write. I don’t have many happy memories of my school years. I was bullied heavily for most of it. Skinny and small with glasses, a smart wit and tongue, I didn’t fit in well. Taking French in a largely blue collar school, playing the violin (there were two violinists in the entire school) and being a Christian marked me out as different, and in packs people fear those who are different because they threaten the pack mentality. There was a certain level of thuggery and a pecking order rapidly established based on physical superiority early on in my high school years. I learnt quickly to avoid confrontation wherever possible.
As an academic minded kid I was also not really stretched by my schooling. For most of my life I rarely if ever did homework. I didn’t study for exams but breezed through them with almost no study (except for French).
So holidays were for me blessed relief from the hum drum of school and the constant planning to escape the bullies i had upset on any particular day who were waiting for me down the road. I knew all the back ways home and i could run and bike fast! Back to school was a long time ago and i have little memory of those times.
As an adult now with kids who are home-schooled we also don’t really understand the “back to school” phenomenon. Admittedly we do have holidays but our schooling is so much more relaxed than the normal school families experience. And to be fair my wife manages 99% of that.
So why should I even write a blog post about this topic?
I pondered that for a while. I ruminated various ideas and wrote some posts in my head that never saw the light of day.
And then it dawned on me.
Life is school.
We are always at school. We are always learning. And if we aren’t. then we are missing the learning opportunities being given to us every moment of every day.
As a photographer I have taken well over a million photos. Over the weekend I took 11,000 at an event, most of which were shot in the same location – just of different people. You might think that isn’t a place to learn. And in some ways that is correct. In fact if I didn’t already have the skills and gear to manage that and perform I wouldn’t have been hired to shoot. But as I watch people coming through an “electric shock therapy” obstacle where they are electrocuted as they run through mud I am constantly learning. Technically I am managing the environment, light, gear and people around me to ensure I can get the shot, and I am striving to get each shot better than the last. This is learning. Using the knowledge of the past to improve the future.
And if in micro adjustments I can shoot the 10,001st photo better than the 10,000th one than I have learnt. I have used my past to change my future.
So I cast my mind further out and wonder at how many opportunities we get every day to learn that we just ignore, or don’t even recognise.
As you read this are you conscious of the learning you can take out of this small article, or are you letting it flow on by? What moments do you have each day that you can learn from but just ignore?
As we learn to live in the present moment and forget the distractions of a future we cannot change by worrying about it, I challenge you to unlock the enormous potential of your past to change your future by learning from your mistakes and improving the way you do everything.
My prayer is that as I can continue to be open to learning that I will change and grow. Back to school is every day.
PS my past school life doesn’t bother me. I made those observations but I don't carry around grudges or bitterness (I hope). Rather I look for ways to positively influence others to not let their past destroy them, or to destroy others.
Finally I’ll leave you with a photo of someone being electrocuted! They even paid for that pleasure.
This blog post is part of a blog circle. Our theme for this month is Back to School. Please come back this week, and read the posts of the others in my circle: