Once in a previous life I built drystone walls and trail. It is satisfying work. Simon Lapington, a friend with whom I used to work titled an anthology of his poems “the Legend of True Labour“, and this resonates with me. The thing is that now when I walk past a garden wall or stone house cladding then I am drawn to a quick analysis. Form does indeed follow function and if a structure has true strength; as in the Menai Bridge from the last post, then it is is aesthetically pleasing. What I find is that I baulk at a lot of the stonework that I see, I am sorry but it is plain offensive. I was always taught that there is a simple rule when walling. One on two, two on one. When I see a straight line travelling through a wall I want to scream. Any child who has spent sufficient time with Lego knows that if blocks do not overlap then the structure is weak.
The thing that irks me is that people are paying good money for “professionals” to this kind of work. The other thing that makes me sad is that it is simply remedied. My apprenticeship with stone was served with large mentors who took no nonsense. It did not take me long to create the simple practice of laying one rock so that it sat on two others and making sure that it was tied down by having two rocks lie on it.
What I now realize is that this phenomena is rife in education as well. In our ever increasing need to train complex situations we are not training young people in the simple, yet foundational behaviors and skills that they need to do work successfully and efficiently. My mentors did not allow me to move forward untill I had the basics down. We are in such a hurry to reach high performance we often sabotage it.
So what are you going to do to make sure that you have the basics covered?