On the 30th October 2012 I was fortunate enough to be invited to Cargilfield prep school in Edinburgh to teach a Design & Technology lesson and to address the congregation at their chapel service. I took three of my senior pupils, who ran the lesson on structures, and the Cargilfield kids were fantastic!
Before I spoke at the service, Andrew Hunter, Headmaster at Merchiston, told the congregation about the story of the ‘Three Trees’, a link to which you can find here: http://www.word4life.com/threetrees.html
I then followed with this short talk:
“Thank you very much Mr Hunter for your wonderful story about ‘the three trees’. Our Chaplain, Mr Blair often talks of the ‘Father who knows how to give good gifts’, and while it is often difficult to see it at the time, this is what your parents, family and teachers will always try to do for you. They have a broader vision of what you could be and take steps to help you achieve this.
Faith and trust in them is vital, and knowing that they want what is best for you can help you make it through the difficult times, for example, when they ask you to do something that is tricky or that stretches you.
As a Design & Technology teacher, I am particularly interested in the story Mr Hunter told us. While the trees saw themselves as what they wanted to be, someone else had a much more special vision of what they could and would become.
A few years ago I made a rustic bench out of two big chunky oak planks as a memorial to a colleague who past away. I tried to maintain the look of the timber by keeping its form quite natural and, while I was outside sanding the finished product down, our Head Groundsman at the time came over to chat about it.
He very graciously complimented the bench and commented on the amount of skill it would have taken to make it. I most humbly thanked him and without any forethought or hesitation I also replied to him that I felt the real skill did not lie in making the bench, but in seeing what the rough material could be.
Of course it still had to be made and hard work had to go into it, but without visualising that the two rough cut planks I started with could become a fitting memorial to a good friend, nothing special would have become of them.
-HOLD UP PHILIP’S CHAIR-
Here I have a chair designed and made by one of our A-Level pupils last year.
Do you like it? Does it look interesting? Does it look special?
What if I told you this chair used to be something else before it was a chair, would you be able to guess what it was?
-TAKE GUESSES FROM THE FLOOR-
It used to be an old pallet! The pupil had the vision to see that an old, broken pallet, the lowliest of all products, used as a way of holding and transporting the ‘better’ products could be given a second chance, a new life, and after a lot of hard work, he was proved correct.
This is how your teachers and parents see you. Not just how you are now, but also what you could be. Like the Designer with the vision, they see your great value and put the hard work in to help you become the best possible you.
I would invite you to look beyond the obvious, think differently and develop your creativity through visualising and imagining. In Design and Technology we would always encourage our pupils to ‘have a go’ without the fear of failure. If they don’t succeed, they analyse why not, they dust themselves down and they have another go.
So please know that there are always people there to guide you, and if you put your trust and faith in them, they will give you all they have to help ‘design and make’ the best possible you.