Carpenters Helper – Pride & Meaningfull Work – John Holt

Meaningful work is one of the best things we can give to our kids.  In school all too often projects are made up to cover the curriculum.  What could have been an amazing opportunity to build a bird house turns into a forced project formulated and possibly irrelevant to the child’s life.  I am not saying that bird houses are not cool as they really are – just it might not have meaning to the child in his or her life circumstance.

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My very darling little boy had such a joyful experience building with his papa over the weekend a while back.  He started out just doing the staining on the flower beds that his papa made but when he did such a great job he was given bigger responsibilities with the next matching flower bed.  With all the concentration and pride that can come out of a little boy my son drove the screws in the trim to attach it to the top and finish the project.  He at first did a couple with a lot of assistance and direction.  By the time he was on to screw number 5 he was doing the job without assistance and swelling with a sense of accomplishment and success.

John Holt – writes about meaningful work and I googled himto try to find the right quote and could not decide on one nor could I find the right quotes for this specific post.  I did find this at

John Holt starts the foreword to the book with “Most children in school fail.”

He says not only do many fail academically, but more fail because they”

“…fail to develop more than a tiny part of the tremendous capacity for learning, understanding and creating with which they were born and of which they made full use during the first two or three years of their lives.

“Why do they fail?

“They fail because they are afraid, bored and confused. p 16

“They are afraid, above all else, of failing, of disappointing or displeasing the many anxious adults all around them…

“They are bored because the things they are given and told to do in school are so trivial, so dull, and make such limited and narrow demands on the wide spectrum of their intelligence, capabilities and talents.

He says they are confused because most of what they hear makes little sense. And because “it often flatly contradicts other things they have been told, and hardly ever has any relation to what they really know–to the rough model of reality that they carry around in their minds.”

I also found this  Wow – is all I can say after reading these many quotes.

Just as I was about to give up on finding the most applicable quote I did find this one.

“What children need is not new and better curriculm but access to more of the real world; plenty of time and space to think over their experiences, and to use fantasy and play to make meaning out of them”

I am so grateful for my spirit and for my courage to go against the grain.  It has been a journey indeed.


~ by Nicole on July 17, 2012.

2 Responses to “Carpenters Helper – Pride & Meaningfull Work – John Holt”

  1. ❤ Kelly just cleaned out the garage and passed on a bunch of tools to K, who now has his own shelf for all his tools. Boys and their toys 😀 Awesome!

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