Piñata of Ideas


Ever have a really good idea, and when you float it out there, someone just can’t wait to knock the stuffing out of it.  Yeah!  Just think of it as a piñata, a little out of reach but interesting enough to take a swing at.  Consider it a sort of backhanded compliment, an inverse relationship.  The more people who try to knock down your idea, the better the chance that it’s actually a good idea.  Good idea…wrong people.

Ad hominem:  a classic response is to simply attack the person who proposes the idea (it’s no co-incidence that attacking someone is called “offensive”) while simultaneously scheming to steal the idea and take credit for it.  Discrediting the person who had the idea originally is often seen as a pragmatic necessity.  “Kill the messenger”  is timeless, and still quite effective.

Attacking the idea itself is more complicated.  That strategy can focus attention on the idea, allowing it to develop it’s own momentum.  Popular movements like Occupy work that way.  Thoreau’s solitary act of resistance in refusing to pay a tax to support a war he didn’t believe in resulted in his essay on Civil Disobedience, which influenced Ghandi, and later King.  Ideas are powerful, and hard to destroy.

“Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions.  Small people always do that.  The really great will make you feel that you too can become great.”  Mark Twain

 If you have the time and interest, the July/August issue of Wooden Boat magazine (available at Barnes & Noble $6.95), devotes the entire Currents column to a dozen or more youth boatbuilding programs.

The program in Philadelphia uses the STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics) acronym and lots of grant-seeking language “specific educational objectives, competencies, and key concepts”.
Another program targets “kids at risk of dropping out of school, in hopes of directing them into further technical and trades-oriented educational programs.”
Several of these programs have partnered with Charter Schools and other cultural organizations.
There are many other existing programs, Teaching With Small Boats Association, Rocking the Boat, Building to Teach…they just don’t exist in Arkansas.

I have been occupied with building a small wooden canoe,  my birthday present to myself.
When this one is finished, I intend to build another, and another.

I am not asking for anything, or proposing anything. All that I can do is put this information in front of you, and ask that you consider, not my interests or agenda, but the potential positive impact that a program of this sort might have on young people in our state. I offer imagination, intelligence, and building skills.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Ghandi

About michaellangford2012

Timber framer, boatbuilder, dreamer, writer, musician; collector of books, tools, aphorisms. "There is nothing, absolutely nothing…half so much worth doing…as simply messing about in boats."
This entry was posted in agrarian reform, architecture, boatbuilding, carpentry, education reform, food for thought, Uncategorized, woodworking. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Piñata of Ideas

  1. Claire Cosmos says:

    Hi Michael, Mike and Sonia – (Claire Cosmos here)

    I wanted to introduce you to each other but since I’m in Dallas still, this is the only avenue I have right now 🙂

    Mike & Sonia, I’ve known Michael for several years and subscribe to his blog. He’s a magnificently talented woodworker and all-round wonderful person, and his idea for a youth program is just brilliant in my opinion. (See blog entry below.)

    Michael, I’ve also known Sonia & Mike for several years, and have had the immense pleasure of working with them on the board of the Creative Economy Action Group there in F’ville. They’re ridiculously talented and creative and also wonderful people. I really believe the CEAG, Sonia (who owns and operates The New Design School) and Mike (totally amazing sculptor) would be the perfect group of people to help bring your vision to fruition.

    So anyway, I hope this note finds you all well and prospering. Miss you all!! (Love to Alice too, Michael!)

    ~Claire _________

    ~What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

    Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:12:04 +0000 To: gloing@hotmail.com

  2. itznu says:

    I can’t think of any type of people who couldn’t improve their quality of life by building boats. Maybe we need a program for old, rich, sober folks?

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