Monday, August 8, 2016

Building Blocks a simple analogy/metaphor

The building blocks are simple, the formula is easy, the upkeep is a little more work, and the power is amazing.  It was one of the first things that propelled humans out of caves and still to this day is unchanged in necessity and simplicity.  I am going to use it as a metaphor and analogy to talk about school. 

Wood, paper, or anything flammable will work.  By themselves they are simply objects with their own unique properties, but they are alone inactive.  Add a source of heat; matches, lighter, the right combination of sticks or rocks.  Friction is created, a spark is seen, and  before you know it you have a small  flame.  Apply this flame to a larger pile of flammable material and a large flame or multiple flames will begin to appear.   One note:  The conditions must be right...  Your wood or paper can not be wet, you can not be in a vacuum deprived of oxygen, and you probably need to make sure to have good ventilation.  If things don’t work out right away or you are not getting the desired effect you adjust placement or you can add an accelerant.  This becomes necessary when the spark does not catch, conditions are not quite right, or if you want to move things along a little faster.  Assuming the flames look good and things are beginning to warm up you will eventually run into a problem.  All fires will eventually burn out if there is no maintenance and upkeep.  You will need to add more wood or whatever to the flame.  You will need to adjust, poke, and possibly clean out some of the ashes if it burns for a while.  I will add that once the fire is burning you can adjust the intensity of the heat in multiple ways.

Fire is school
Fire is organizations
Fire is structures of growth

I think in metaphors and analogies often to help me better understand more complex situations.  I think that there are so many ways that building, maintaining, and enjoying a fire relates to school that it is almost uncanny. 

Kindling or paper that starts the fire are like your early adopters
Gasoline or lighter fluid you add is like an initiative or idea to push change.
Poking, water, or anything else to increase or decrease the heat is feedback

Getting a fire started takes some planning, gathering of materials, a little knowledge, the right conditions, and combinations.  

Ever try putting kindling or paper on top of the larger logs to set up before the fire is burning?   It does not work out well.  So there is a system and organization that needs to be thought through.  This is the work, this is the experience you can draw from others.  This is where you need to do your research and a little experimentation.   You will know when you are ready to light, that moment that tells you if you have set things up correctly to get started.  Assuming you get it lit as this is the most important part of the plan, you then go into a new stage.  You stop thinking about planning and begin to think about maintenance. 

When you know the fire is going pretty well, you could walk away from it for a few minutes and come back trusting it will still be burning bright.  That is the sweet spot.  Then it is just minor adjustments, moving a log here or there, letting it burn itself out a bit, just to be reignited, and sitting back a bit.  Enjoying the warmth and the flames a little.  Celebrate what you have done, but understand that to keep it going, you will constantly be working, finding new logs to add to the fire.   

This is also when you need to start to think about outside influences like weather conditions and if you have enough fuel to keep the fire going.  Put up a tarp to keep rain away, search far and wide for more wood, whatever you need to do to not let the fire go out totally.  

If either of those things are a threat to your fire, how are you going to adjust and plan for them? 


What can you do now, to make sure you can keep the fire going?

A fire can be as big or small as you want it to be, depending on how much work you want to put into it and dependent on how you have set up your area, conditions, and can account for outside factors.

Find your spot, start your fire, enjoy it a bit, but understand that fire maintenance, like organizational maintenance and schools are a lot of work.  You will get dirty, you will make mistakes, so have that poker ready to rekindle and restart the flame. 

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