Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Makers & Artisans Explode, So How About We Teach Our Youth?

It's all the rage. DIY in-house tinkering and crafting and building and making. We are, at our most primitive, innovators as humans. We find ways to improve our quality of life as often as we can or need to our of necessity. So it should come as no surprise we have identified this skill set as a proposed profession as well. While, I admit, the two are not necessarily an apples-to-apples match, they are both born out of our curiosity, will, and desire to live better. The 'Maker' movement, the 'Artisan' movement, etc. are the new terms we use for an always developing group of individuals, etc. that are spawning nationwide, and worldwide for that matter, dedicated to learning, practicing, and perfecting a craft. Every day as I walk downtown, read the paper (yes, I am old school,) or see a tweet regarding a new Maker or Artisan or Crafty-person I am reminded that we are, at the essence of our being, people that love to explore new horizons. I sincerely wish our educational system were supportive of this, rather than the K-12 institutional complex of standardized testing and trail leading to nausea-inducing Scantrons filled with #2 pencil rectangular shapes. I believe we should develop each Maker from childhood, giving each of us an introduction to our own hands-on abilities and creative instincts. This does not mean we create a society of small batch artisan crafty heads - it means we allow some instinctual capabilities to resonate internally, and somewhere along the way each child develops their own identity with what they are comfortable with, and allow them to excel if that is a path they feel good about. Why do we not teach arts and crafts? Why do we focus on STEM? Ingenuity and innovation are not limited to scientific applications, rather, I would argue they are uniquely attached to each other in advancing one another, both in the equipment and the mindset. Perhaps, this newly named movement will refocus our educational efforts and realize the value in continuing arts, trades, and skilled craftsman that may or may not need an educational path through traditional 4 year institutions. Where are the apprenticeship programs that are available to all? They rarely exist today, and that is a shame. Time to shift the mentality in this country and get away from such narrowly focused attention to mandated testing criteria.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Making The Leap

Every month I am confronted by the reluctant entrepreneur regarding taking that next leap into their own business. So often the risks build an obstacle in front of them they feel too large to contend with. If you are going to be an entrepreneur, you better be comfortable with risk. The only folks that don't think some risk is agreeable are those in static coma, or bankers. You will at some point be forced to stretch your neck across that line, and hope like heck your head does not roll. But if it does roll, and most likely it will at some time, get your best needle and thread out and sew it back on. You will be wiser and more mature for your next venture outside. Take the leap of faith. You will never know if it was a good idea unless you try. I suggest weighing your own constitution first, and if it allows, go for it. If you aren't feeling it, wait. It may come later in life, or never at all, but at least you followed your instinct and made decisions you can live with. If you go to bed wondering every night 'what could have been,' you may have to force yourself to jump from the ledge. It's OK, there are many of us out there that are waiting to catch you and help you back up.