I met a man blessed with the ability to not be able to read or write, yes I said blessed. The world he created is a work he completed with admirable energy and persistence. It got me to thinking what the real value of these two skills are!
Meeting this man and talking with him I didn’t know at the time he never learnt to “read and write his letters”, as he would say. He worked for himself and built a business that afforded him the opportunity to do the things he loved and maintain a decent home life with an average sized family. He gardened vegetables as a hobby and enjoyed fishing. To anyone who didn’t know any better he would seem like the guy who graduated High School and worked hard at being successful, not a man who never really participated in the school experience past Elementary School; much like the “old days”, as he would say.
It made some sense to me in some ways. We start school so young nowadays; so as adults most of our childhood memories are of school experiences. That was’nt so in “the old days” I started school at six years old; there was no kindergarten “back then”. We played outside everyday from the time we were old enough to make a mess in the house, so we learnt to value a clean organized home that we lived in, not just ate dinner and slept in.
We spent much of our days learning to “figure things out” with our friends instead of living in the prepared environment of a classroom. By the time we went to school we already learnt to put a chain on our bicycles, use scrap to build a house in a tree, and solve arguments by fighting and makin up without any adults interfering.
It may be easier, (even cheaper) today to buy a new bike, buy a Little Tykes fort, and have a teacher solve our disputes; but surely something’s lost in the process. Simply digging in the dirt taught us about hard work and cooperation.
We weren’t taught at home how to read and write, that was the teachers job! We did learn respect and cooperation to the point we knew if behavior was a problem at school, it would become a problem for us at home. And vice versa; we better have payed attention at school and learned, cause with chores, meals, and bathes there was not much time for “school learning”.
Learning is a human function like breathing. We don’t need a Doctor, hospital, or medication to live a healthy life. My friend is in his fifties now and with the muscle he’s created working and “stayin busy” he puts most folks in their late twenties to shame; and I ain’t referring to “fake muscle”, as he would say. I’m talking about “work muscle” that can move through its full range if motion bearing weight for hours on end. “Not for show, for go!”, as my friend would say.
Retirement ain’t in my friends plans, he loves what he does and sittin around a TV hours a day would be the death of him. The thought makes no sense. Why would you work at something your whole life with a goal to be able to stop doing it! Do something you love and “make a go at it.” If it don’t work out the first time “pull up your britches and try again”. If you really love it you’ll make it work, if not you’ll move onto something else.
I learnt alot from my “illiterate” friend who’s life is a success. Os nwo I rdea fro ejmetneo adn wteri ym ltertse jsut ot sgin ym nema. I lvei ecah dya ot rdea fro fnu adn wtrie tihs bolg ot lnear sa mchu sa I cna aobut teh pleoep I lvoe adn crea fro, lkie teh odl dyas, tahnsk ot ym “odl feinrd I ma a suscecs nwo!