I sketch, I research, I dream.
And then I do nothing.
Caught in an endless cycle of Googling, these ideas end up fizzling out and nothing is brought to life.
Until I make for others. Making for others, I have learned, creates a profound sense of joy that I've never experienced. It's what I thrive on. It's why I'm a teacher, I've realized.
So what has this realization brought me? Well...
It's the start of a new school year. A time for community building and getting to know each other. A time for sharing who you are as a learner with those around you.
All too often, I have asked my students to take time to share themselves through writing, conversation, and other means as a way for me to quickly know some of the things they identify as important in their lives. While this can serve a purpose and identify many nuances it may have taken weeks to figure out, I felt like it was time to do something different. After all, if we want to spend the rest of year thinking about others, why would we start by only thinking of ourselves?
It became important, then, to create a simple design challenge that made a couple of things clear: we believe in working for and with each other AND we believe in the power of creating with our hands. In taking abstract concepts and turning them into tangible product. In MAKING as a way of learning about the world around us.
It doesn't matter what the task was, really, because in the end it became all about the lessons learned by engaging in the process. That for every problem, you need to gain a deeper understanding before developing a meaningful solution. Or that asking "Why?" can be such a simple way of encouraging in depth answers. And that seeing a smile on your partner's face tells you that you really 'nailed' your goal.
That's what the maker movement is all about. While the problems faced by makers can come from personal interest, they often evolve into something more; something that impacts the lives of a great many people that have often wondered about finding a solution to the very same challenge. It's what makes it a community.
There is no greater time to be a part of this community than the Calgary Mini Maker Faire (September 12 and 13, 2015). This event is a massive source of inspiration, both personally and professionally (to the point I volunteered to be on the production crew), and I encourage you to try attending this year. The passion of the makers is infectious - soon you will find yourself dreaming about designing new objects to help out those most important to you. And then you'll make them happen and change lives. Perhaps it is may only be a small change in the big scheme of thing to one person (and likely far more) that small change means the world.