Learning by doing
Every generation thinks their time is the best time to be alive, and it’s probably true because they don’t know any different. However, I do think if you were born during the 60’s, had your childhood during the 70’s, been a teenager during the 80’s, you do realise that in life as we experience it now, there are so much more opportunities for everyone than ever before. The door is open and you just have to go and do it.
Ahead of his time
My grandfather used to say that I was a born teacher. He actually was that, and a very good one indeed. He considered teaching as a very noble career because you get to work with children, who are the most precious gift a parent could receive and also because children are the future of our world. Things have changed so much in education since he was headmaster at a school in Johannesburg. I am convinced that he was ahead of his time. He was a practical man who believed in learning by doing or experiencing.
Freedom to explore
From the many times, as a child, visiting my grandparents, what I can remember was how I had the freedom to explore many things. One of the things that I used to love to do was go to his workshop and build random things with the wood he had lying around. He would never say the words: “You can’t do that”. I could use his woodworking tools and of course he would always come and help and assist when there was something I could not do myself. He also had a big vegetable garden and an orchard with peach trees. With so much patience he helped me make my own vegetable patch, even though I would be going home in a week. Come to think of it, he was always teaching, he always wanted us to experience things ourselves and I can’t remember him ever giving negative feedback, when we tried our hand on something.
Preparing the soil
I am grateful for this part of my childhood, where I could fall out of a tree and get up, and with Grandpa’s help, try again. I am also lucky that I could use his woodworking tool, when I was still very young, without being made aware of the dangers, but rather being assisted to make sure I know how to handle it. I could walk barefoot in the orchards, get thorns in my feet, and learn where to step to avoid them next time. I learnt that if you prepare the soil before you plant the seed, chances are much better for the seed to grow into a beautiful vegetable. I could play tennis, barefoot on a hard-packed soil tennis court and be pushed around in a go-cart that Grandpa Jan made with odd pieces of wood and wheels from old prams.
What do I need to know in order to do it?
I am not sure if I am a born teacher. He might have been wrong about that. What he definitely knew was that I am a practical person who likes to learn by doing. I have the most wonderful memories of my visits at my grandparents, not only because of the time I got to spend with them, but also the most valuable experiences that I now realise gave me the confidence to know that everything is possible if you put your mind to it. I believe we are all capable of so much more than we think we are. The question to ask is not “how will I be able to do it?” but rather “What do I need to know in order to do it?”
It takes time
When we plant seeds, the process that happens under the soil can’t be rushed. When we see the first green of the first leaves pushing through the soil, that’s when we first start to see the growth and realise that all the efforts of the preparation were so worth it. I am learning something everyday about photography, by reading, watching tutorials and then mostly by going out to shoot. Every photograph is a learning process, sometimes it makes me realise how much more I still have to learn and grow, and sometimes the joy of knowing I was there, at that moment to capture the scene, is enough for now.
“You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”
― Richard Branson
I would like to share some of the moments I was so happy to capture. At the time I was still learning how to get the right exposure and also had no editing program to correct the exposure afterwards. I don’t want to correct these photographs , because in a way they are all part of the process.
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
― Richard Branson
“Everything that occurs to us in life is a resource, an experience that we can learn from and grow from.”
― Kilroy J. Oldster
“But when one is young one must see things, gather experience, ideas; enlarge the mind.”
― Joseph Conrad
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”