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