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Be kind to yourself

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Be kind to yourself

My youngest, Colton, had just turned two when I opened the shop, so I find it quite remarkable to report that last week I took him to get his learner's permit. Time flies for sure.  As we were out for his very first driving experience, was pretty comfortable maneuvering the car on the small road to our house. Backing out of the driveway however, was a little trickier for him of course, as it is, well, backwards.  It's so counter-intuitive that despite my guidance he ended up off the driveway and kinda in the grass.  Oops.  "I'm a lousy driver," he announced, frustrated.  I laughed and said that he'd been behind the wheel for a total of exactly 10 minutes, so that wasn't exactly a fair assessment.  He compares himself endlessly to his big brother, Johnny, who at 23 is a smooth and relaxed driver.  Colton seems to have forgotten how I clutched the armrest and pumped my imaginary break while Johnny learned to drive.  I used to tell Johnny that teaching him to drive was like holding a log to be cut while he experimented around with the chain saw.  I was sure one or both of us was going to die.   

I am happy that teaching knitting is not as dangerous as teaching either driving or chain saw skills, but they do all have something in common:  we're not good at things right out of the gate, and that's hard for us as adults.  Our days of learning new physical skills are far behind us.  We learned to walk and talk and write and ride a bicycle many decades ago.  Even learning to drive was quite a bit in the past for most of us, so to learn a new physical skill, like knitting, puts us in unfamiliar territory.  As adults, we are judged by our competence.  We're expected to know how to do things and to do them well.  As a result, we tend to stay within our comfort zone and do more of those things we're good at and avoid those things we aren't.  Learning is uncomfortable, and we're quick to be hard on ourselves.  We see mistakes as failures rather than as part of the normal learning process.  When we see others knitting fluidly, maybe without even looking, we judge ourselves against them, rather than accepting that they were also beginners once.  So whether you're learning to knit for the first time, or learning to do socks for the first time, or anything else, for that matter, relax into the process.  Give yourself permission to make mistakes, and know that you will learn, and you will get there too.  It takes time. Be patient, and be kind to yourself. 

 I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table.  You are always welcome here.  ~Ellen

Back to 10 April 2018 Newsletter

Comments on this post (5)

  • Apr 10, 2018

    I find your writings so relateable and refreshing – sometimes I even feel more physically relaxed after reading them – your latest post included. Thank you for sharing your life and wisdom with us.


    — Maria Fleming

  • Apr 10, 2018

    I remember teaching my son with a gear shift in our pick up truck. Thought we would b ever make it up a hill but ge is a great driver. With me learning with my Dad we had many steep hills in our town so that was the scariest for me.
    Thanks about reminding me that maybe someday I will finish a progect and feel comfortable knitting. Ginni is so patient with me.
    Thinking of going on the retreat. Do you think I can do that sweater?
    Thanks Kimberly

    — Kimberly Westcoat

  • Apr 10, 2018

    So excited to Colton! When I got my license, I was so nervous I had to go home and take a nap!! I was spent! Fun times for Mom and son. Enjoy! And thanks for the reminder about having to “learn”. The process is so much more pleasant with experts to lean on at Crazy for Ewe. I would not be nearly as adventuresome if you were not there. Thank You!!

    — Susan Dyer

  • Apr 10, 2018

    Yay for Colton. Reminds me of my first driving days. I failed the first driving test. Seems I took everything the drivers ed teach told me literally. Which explains why I landed in the hospital parking lot when he told me to take the next left.

    But the second time around I nailed it, even making the most perfect parallel parking job he had ever seen!

    My first driving lesson, I came home and the back of my shirt was soaking wet. I was so nervous I was sweating profusely.

    Good point about getting out of our comfort zone, which is why I think I am stuck on my knitting right now. I don’t want to do the normal cowl, or scarf, yet the instructions seems to daunting. I am going to give it a try though. Thank you!

    — Taryn

  • Apr 10, 2018

    Thank you for these important reminders! One way that I’m kind to myself in knitting is to solicit the help and instruction of caring, competent teachers like my friends at Crazy for Ewe. :-)

    — Amy Henderson

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