Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Once upon a time when I took a really interesting 'Psychology of the Adult Learner' class for my Allied Health Educator major, my prof insisted that the adult learner has a need to focus on 3 core ideas about their learning process: the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you can get an adult learner to move past the ugly, analyze the bad, and recognize the good then you've connected with them and will likely yield good results. And honestly, I found that simple philosophy to be dead on.

As an adult, I consider myself a lifetime learner. A learner of nearly everything and anything that comes my way in my lifetime. I strive to keep an open mind and fill it with various things, even if they are trivial pieces of information. When you stop learning, you stop living. When you close yourself off from learning from others, you cease to be productive and influential. Now I do not profess to be either productive or influential - but I do learn each and every day.

So what does this have to do with knitting? In knitting we are always learning. We are always striving to produce our best product. Sometimes we can only see the ugly. Sometimes we fail to analyze the bad. Oftentimes, we completely neglect to look at the good. As a knitting newbie, I have frogged more items than I care to even think about. I almost gave up knitting because I felt that I couldn't devote the time and energy toward improving. I felt like a failure each time I'd show up to a stitch and bitch with a scarf or dishcloth to knit. As I'd eye everyone's gorgeous, complicated stitches in equally gorgeous and complicated projects, I'd think to myself: just put the scarf in your bag and walk away, no one gets hurt.

Recently, when I started my group on Ravelry, Moving Beyond Rectangles, a poster reminded me of how helpless you feel when your knitting skill set is small. And how horrible you feel the first time you reach for your needles and yarn from a chain store only to have more experienced knitters balk at your supplies. And I got to thinking.. those knitting snobs have closed themselves off. They aren't good teachers. They don't want to help the new knitter. And they certainly have not used The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly philosophy.

And WHY am I rambling on about this you may ask? Because knitting is such a source of therapy, escape, release, artistic expression, and most importantly (IMHO) - community. At least that's what knitting has meant to me. When I am in tears and feel raw from a bad day of meltdowns, anxiety, and arguing from DS - I make time to hang out with my yarnies and get in some knitting therapy. It provides therapy and escape. It's a release from all of the tension I cannot release at home. It provides me with an artistic expression and the gratification of knowing that I actually created something of use. I created something with my own hands. And it provides me with the means to socialize. To laugh. To gossip. To just be a knitter for a few hours. And when I think about all it does for me, I know that those newbies out there with limited experience in yarns and needles or the lack of funds to purchase more pricey yarns and needles don't need to be turned away - they need all that knitting has to offer too. And it's my job to pass on whatever limited knowledge I have.

We are all adult learners in something.. we all need help from time to time. We are all teachers of something. What would you like to be known for teaching others? Intolerance? Patience? Self-assurance? Self loathing? Today while you are going about your usual tasks, think carefully about all of the times you had the opportunity to teach with your actions as well as your words. Whether it is an attribute or something tangible. Life is made up of all of these. Life IS the good, the bad, and the ugly.



  1. I wonder if your knitting tension goes from tight to loose over the hours of knitting! Hehe.

    Don't you just look forward to those hours all week? I have every Friday evening off, and some weeks I just live for it. Then, as I drive out the driveway (with Michael Bublé on the CD player), all the tension melts off. Ü

    One more hour, and I'm off! I'm going to sit in the food court of the shopping center and knit!

  2. Actually, it does do that alot of the time! :P Good for you! I hope you enjoyed your knitting time.. :)


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