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jethro's picture

Back to School

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.

  • When my child shows me something she is proud of or just wants to show me, am I learning a little more about her personality and her mind, or am I distracted and ignoring her?
  • When I am driving am I fine-tuning my ability to manage my car and thus almost imperceptibly improve the safety of those in my car and around me?
  • As I craft this article and think about the impact I may be having on others with my words, am I careful about which words I use?

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.

  • Don’t just keep doing things the same way. There is no gain in that. All of mankind’s greatest achievements came from dissatisfaction with the status quo.
  • Do constantly look for improvement – even in the most minute of things, wash the dishes just that little bit more efficiently and save water, time or electricity. The gains may be eternal for someone you can impact with that saved time.

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.

2015-09-13 Electroshock 2730

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:

jethro's picture

This weeks round up of news and cool web stuff

Live Mesh announces an update affecting all platforms

Windows Vista SP2 hits the streets today - Sarah has a full list of the enhancements and fixes in Vista SP2

Tony Morgan posts a though provoking piece with 10 reasons why he doesn’t like most Christians. I would agree with them all.

Rodney Olsen posted this cool video about technological and futuristic trends. I have added it here also.

jethro's picture

Kiwi Party

Wow! If I lived in the Mana electorate of NZ I would vote for this guy! Renton Maclachlan gave a great speech on education recently. See it on YouTube. He is standing for the Kiwi Party.

Speech transcript on the CMI Website.

jethro's picture

My Responses to the Herald Sun Articles

I have today responded to two articles written by Cheryl Critchley a columnist for the Herald Sun. I guess she has a job a little like mine sometimes – she writes for a living! I think maybe I do more typing than she does (I average about 1 million words per year).


Anyway the two articles were Is homeschooling good for kids? and the current controversy about the Bill Hensen Underage nude (art) photographs titled Are nude photos of children ever OK?


Nude photos of children answer.

Hi Cheryl

I completely agree with your comment that photos of nude children are inappropriate as forms of public art. While most families have shots of their kids naked, part naked etc they are usually as your photos of your kids are described, candid and funny reminders of times as a family where the nakedness is not the point of the photo, though often the focal point. Rather the point of these photos is the family fun and memories.