Saturday, April 02, 2016

Nurturing talent

I have been helping out at a children's holiday club run by my church.

I have been so amazed by some of the talent shown by my six-year-old charges. One played football very well. A couple of the girls showed superb abilities in their colouring.

I was quite taken aback because my son was still drawing stick figures when he was eight or perhaps even ten. His colouring was quite atrocious. No amount of  'colour within the lines' had any effect on him.

He dreaded doing art and sport most, I think.

With the exception of three-dimensional art. He is fascinated by origami and has created some most spectacular origami structures.

When I looked at them -- they connect and can be manipulated and transformed -- I realized that this was not origami as in 'folding art'. This was origami as in 'paper engineering'.

Back to these talented young people.

I hope that they have the space and support to develop those innate talents that they clearly possess.

Just as their drawings had given me so much pleasure in the last few days, I hope and trust that, in due course, they would be bringing much pleasure to many others when they are older.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Extreme navel-gazing?

I have been very lazy and had not kept up with posting here.

The last few years saw me kind of trying -- but not too hard -- getting back into academia. Nope. Still unsuccessful in convincing a university to take me on.

The writing is doing a bit better as I had been getting published in various academic journals, including some with quite impressive 'journal impact factor'.

Healthwise I had been suffering a pain in my shoulder connected to my writing arm. Sometimes it hurts a lot and I cannot do a lot of things I used to do. A real 'bummer'!

Two things of significance in the last three months:

  1. I am coming to an age where I could have been researching myself. Yes, I will soon qualify for retirement housing and I could have been one of my own research respondents. (I studied sheltered housing for the elderly for my PhD.) How's that for extreme 'navel-gazing' as some anthropologists are sometimes accused of doing?
  2. I am enjoying teaching computer skills to senior citizens as a volunteer at the local AGE UK. In contrast to undergrads that I used to teach, my students are now usually very keen to learn.

What I have found very concerning in my research on ageing is that there is a lot of loneliness. Being able to use the computer and internet is one way of getting around this problem of loneliness.

If you know someone who is reluctant to learn, and if this someone is aged above 60, encourage him/her to seek out a course at an AGE UK or some other charity. They will find it very useful.