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:
My morning ritual is to make a coffee at the kitchen counter with a window looking out over our backyard. Usually I am the first up and the house is still, filled only with the sounds of animals other than humans. Peeping of small hatched chickens inside, the raucous morning squawk of my Amazonian parrot, and the clucking of hens right outside the window. Sometimes my wife is up first and out in the yard tending to her chickens, and sometimes my youngest daughter is up (often she rises to the sound of the coffee machine) and then I am bombarded with her inquisitiveness.
i gaze out the backdoor and i see the comforts of home. The familiar clutter of bikes, the BBQ lawnmower, birdcages and chickens.
Zooming in as the chickens come for their food we see each has a personality, a pecking order and they are “so adorable” as the girls say.
This is where I live.
My family is my familiar clutter, my girls are my background noise. Yet I need to remember to zoom in. Focus on the individuals amongst the crowd and noise, listen to the request for love an attention and provide that as a husband and father. Sometimes I neglect this. That is not what I want to do. This reminder is good.
And this morning my youngest (the teens are all in dreamland) was excited to show me her new rip stick skills so out in the middle of the street I lie with my camera – giving her attention.
This is where I live.
This blog is part of a blog circle. Our theme for this month is Where I Live. Please come back this week, and read the posts of the others in my circle:
So I am in San Antonio. I want to go riding with Gordon. Reggie freakin Regan gave Gordon an old mountain bike but he had only ever ridden it on the road. I had a quick look. Its a decent bike. i pumped up the tyres and checked the brakes. Gordon jumped on for a test ride but the front gears were not working. My wife Judith had given me a list of bike shops here in SA before I left. She is good like that. So I opened them up in a browser and Gordon recognised one shop cyclelogic as being 2 miles away. We go there and the shop was crammed with bikes. Interestingly for me they were Marin dealers. My first bike was a Marin Pine Mountain. Here is a dodgy mobile phone pic of the new 29’er. Anyway we had a great chat, they fixed the gears on the spot and told us where to ride. Local knowledge is always best. We organised to come back to get a small Issue with my brakes fixed after the ride.
Gordon got lost while we were riding but that is just par for the course with him. It took 30 minutes for me and 4 other riders to find him. I’m getting used to it. If I was Jeanene I would have had him fitted with a GPS tracker under his skin by now.
After a great ride we headed back to the shop. I had noticed that they had a fish sign on the business card and a crown of thorns hanging above the counter. I said “hey we are Christians too” and asked about the crown of thorns.
Allen told us a story in the most humble way about how he had helped a blind girl who wanted to ride by getting her and her mother fixed up with a tandem bike and how they had hand made this crown and given it to him. They were so touched by the way he had helped when no other shop would.
While he was telling the story we were both fascinated and my gut feeling was that this guy was living out his High Calling in his shop. In fact he said what he does is help people and that his work place just looked like a bike shop. After telling him a bit about why we were here and www.thehighcalling.org website he recognised the radio broadcasts and said he listened to them each morning.
Allen is a real neat bloke. His shop is great. i can heartily recommend him.
Wyatt Roy is our local Federal Representative. I have met him a number of times, attended meetings with him, and photographed him as well.
Here is the email he sent recently with regard to Australia's National Debt. Sobering stuff.
Last night in Parliament I spoke about the simple differences between a Coalition economy and a Labor economy.
Here's a quick snapshot:
- Under the Coalition Government there was a 20% increase in real wages, a 100% increase in net wealth for each Australian and more than 2 million new jobs.
- Under this Labor government our net debt has increased to $145 billion, with an interest bill of $22 million a day.
- Under the Coalition government net debt as a percentage of GDP was 3.8% in the black, under this Labor government we are 9.6% in the red.
- Under the Coalition government net government interest on payments was a little over $1 billion in earnings. Today under Labor, it is $6 ½ billion in payments.
- Under the Coalition government our unemployment rate was 4.5%, today under this Labor government it is 5.1%.
The Coalition has a clear vision for Australia’s future – a way to get Australia back on track. Should the Coalition be re-elected we will once again see a government that will scrap unnecessary taxes, cut wasteful spending and reduce the tax burden on business. We will see higher productivity, job growth, sustainable development and a modern enterprise economy that eradicates barriers to opportunity and engagement.
We have done it before and we can, and must, do it again. Read more about the Coalition’s plan to get Australia get back on track here, or watch my speech below.
Here is a link to his speech on you tube.