Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Patience Learned

I have gone through my life with the unexamined belief that patience is something you either have or you don't have. This class has changed my mind.

I think instead that patience is more like fitness - you can become more patient with practice and determination. Last week when I was trying to explain something for the fifteenth time, I could feel my frustration rising and sarcasm bubbling in my brain. But I took a deep breath and searched my brain for yet another way to explain the same thing.

Honestly, with five children, I've had a lot of practice with this patience thing. I'm not the most patient person in the world or even as patient as I would like to be, but I do believe I'm better than when I started. Maybe it comes from exercising empathy. The more you try to put yourself in another person's shoes, the more patient you can be with that person. That and deep breathing!

So far, all six students can make a slip knot and do the backward loop cast on. From there, we've got issues. One kid is going gang busters, but I think she came to class knowing how to knit. After demonstrating over and over and holding hands to show them the process, I think I finally hit on an explanation that works. I tell them there is an old loop on the left hand needle. Put the right hand needle through that loop. Wrap the yarn around the needle to make a new loop. Pull the needle through the old loop. Then the old loop can hop off the needle. I found that it seemed to work best if I stopped and asked them to point out several times where the old loop was and where the new loop was and then explain to me what had to happen.

I think at least three were getting the hang of it by the end of the class. Just two more to go. I wish I could sign them up for another 6 weeks, but summer is coming too soon!

My own knitting has been slowed by a need to detangle the yarn DP (dear puppy) tangled on a romp through the house. Amazing how much damage can be done in such a short time. It's taken literally hours. The thing that keeps me going is that it's strangely meditative and engaging. I wouldn't think detangling yarn would keep my attention, but it does. Not that I would recommend it.

I may be doing more of it - these girls in my class have managed to make some pretty snarly messes of the balls I sent home with them. I honestly didn't know it was possible to get yarn into the jumble that they've made!


Dorothy said...

You know, I've learned not to ask God for patience, because He'll just give me people I need to be patient with! :)

It sounds like you're doing a great job!

Holly Jo said...

You are doing a great job with this group of girls. It has been interesting reading all of your posts about this experience.

Bad puppy. :)