Saturday, August 25, 2007


I have a friend who, most of the time, can build things and put things together without any instructions at all. He envisions the end product and then takes all the individual pieces and puts them together. It's perfect, too.

Whatever that is that allows him to do that is not present in me. I need instructions and tools and patience and it still takes me longer to put the thing together. Usually I have mistakes even then.

I've noticed that sometimes when my friend puts something together he might deviate from the written instructions. He can do that because he knows what he's doing. He "sees" the end result and he "sees" various ways to get there.

I understand some of this although not in exactly the same way. I am good at certain things. I take liberties with what I am good at. So I understand a little. In my case it is mathematics and computers. I didn't find out about computers until the late 60's because they weren't much around before then.

I recall when we started getting those "thought" problems in grade school and everyone had so much trouble solving them. I never did. I just knew the answer. I remember the teacher telling us how important it was to learn the method of solving the problem. I thought that was kind of funny because I didn't really need a method. I could usually "see" more than one way to do it. Back then you had to show your work and if you didn't follow the method then your grade suffered. You could even get the wrong answer but still get points if you followed the method correctly.

I had a friend that was an artist. She could always tell you the answer and it would be correct. But she had no idea how she arrived at it. She didn't get good grades because of that.

But real life is not like school. In real life it is the answer that counts. No one cares about the method you used. Well as long as you avoid prison at least. For instance if you are a car salesman then your paycheck will depend on how many cars you sold period. You won't get money or gold stars or anything for following a certain script.

Caregiving is real life for sure. It is all about results.


nancy said...

i enjoyed your post. i agree caregiving is like that for sure. i had a very difficult time when i was first convinced it was time to bring in a HHA to help with russ. joann did things differently than i but the results were the same. it wasn't necessarily wrong, just different. i had to learn to bite my tongue when i saw that it didn't bother russ that she took a different method, as long as the result was the same.

~Betsy said...

Great parallel here between caregiving and following the instructions - since there really are no instructions to speak of.

My son is a lot like you. He is very logical and can see the answer but he would always lose points for not following the "method". It drove him batty.

Terrific post - very thought provoking.

SKYGIRL said...

This is a good one. I find I would rather drive myself completely mad, then ever read instructions! I can usually 'get er done'(Oh no! I've picked up Hill-Billy!) My last effort was my desk. Where I am sitting now. It was 285 pieces of hardware, and about Eight large components. I did discover a neat trick, especially for a "BIG" project. I would line up all the similiar screws and such and put them sticky side up on a strip of masking tape. This way I could push them aside, if I got tired, and they would not roll away, or get lost.

I also think this will be my last piece of furniture I will build! Kind of like "The Camping!"

I think this is why I am a good cook, but a horrid Baker. Baking is like a Science, and you "MUST" follow the directions, to the letter? I don't find any fun in that. It must be the 'rebel' in me!


Lori1955 said...

I am one who follows instructions to the letter. I even read them through once before starting a project and then again as I go. I hate making a mistake. I also always loved the logic of math. The order.
There aren't really any fool proof instructions on being a caregivers and I have made my share of mistakes. And certainly nothing our LO's do is logical. Sigh.