Friday, 16 September 2016

Three things never return.

My physio therapist and I were chatting during my treatment yesterday, as we usually do - chatting about this and that but mainly about personal relationships.

I have always been a seeker after knowledge - this from being a very small girl.   I always loved doing school essays, doing the research, writing the words and looking what sort of mark I got (usually a good one because I put in so much time on research).

This attitude did not leave me when I left school.   I left at sixteen -  because my parents, who were in their early forties when I was born, really could not afford to keep me on at Grammar School any longer.   Looking back now of course I know that I should have stayed on and gone on to further education.   But that view is with hindsight and also with the attitude of my generation.   I was the first child in our family to go to Grammar School and conditions for my parents were not easy.

But once I had left school and got a job (in the office of a family member who was a Building Contractor - where I stayed until I married) I happily continued to study - first O levels (they were just being introduced) and then A levels and then, when the Open University was started up, a Humanities Degree.   I absolutely loved the study, the essays and the marks I was getting.

After that came Teacher Training and a life in Teaching, rising through the ranks to a position of Senior Mistress in a Comprehensive School and taking charge of a Unit for English as a Second Language.   Another degree followed, taken in my spare time.

It was at this point that my Mother questioned why I was doing all this.   By this time she was a very old lady and she couldn't understand why I felt the need to keep pushing forward.    I said something to her which I have always regretted, when I told her it was because, unlike her, I wanted to be interested in more than just my children.

Talking to my Physio yesterday, we got on to this subject and I found that she had the same urge as I did in my young days - this urge to learn. this urge to keep pushing ahead.   We also found that both of us had been up against questioning as to its being necessary.

My warning was to say nothing which you might regret. Once said - it is there for ever, and however much you regret saying it, it cannot be unsaid.

My friend P, who may well be reading this, had a good saying for this and it  is a saying well worth bearing in mind as you go through life:

"Three things never return:  the spent arrow, the lost opportunity and the spoken word."

26 comments:

Derek Faulkner said...

Wow, this time yesterday afternoon I was in shorts and sweltering in yet another baking hot afternoon in North Kent. In 24 hrs its seems like we've gone full tilt into winter with blustery winds, driving rain and cool temperatures - our three month heatwave and drought is now ell and truly over and loathsome winter gets closer. SAD will soon hit me.

Terry and Linda said...

And to go along with this: My Dad always told me: "If you want to keep your friends--never discuss politics or religion".

Linda

Countryside Tales said...

I like that saying. I agree about the thirst for knowledge - we're lucky we live at a time when the means to acquire it is easier than it perhaps once was.

Derek Faulkner said...

Perhaps it's too easy to find, part of the adventure and learning back then, was finding that knowledge for one's self by reading and studying.

Heather said...

I have always had a desire to be creative, but as a child was hopeless at art and later, was too busy to have the time to do anything about it. In my late 40's I took a City and Guilds course in creative embroidery and later worked on various distance learning courses. I also enjoyed the research which some of my pieces required. I haven't made a career from it, but I have thoroughly myself.

Carol said...

My children have said things to me similar to what you said to your mother. Especially humorous was my youngest son's "You don't know anything about real life!" delivered when he was a wise 18-year-old. I made my choices at various ages and see children's judgementalism as the product of their ages at the time. I hold no grudges about their comments, and would be surprised if your mother held your words against you.

The Broad said...

I was very fortunate growing up in a family where both my parents had a thirst for knowledge, which they imparted to all four of their children and we children in turn to our children. Now approaching dotage, if not already there, I am haunted by the idea that I don't have enough time to do all the reading and learning that I keep thinking I want to do.

donna baker said...

I love your story Pat. Here is something else that might interest you when you want to find out something new. Khan Academy. Kind of like the old encyclopedias, but in lesson form on the internet. Wonderful place to learn.

Terra Hangen said...

I love your friend P's advice; the world would be a kinder place if we all followed it. I often try to say nothing rather than words I would forever regret, we probably all slip up from time to time. I love learning like you do, and found a career that suited me as librarian. Later I wrote 1,000 published articles and had to do research for them, which I enjoyed, plus my nonfiction books require research too.

Joanne Noragon said...

Thank you friend P; true, true words. Khan Academy that Donna Baker recommends is a good learning place. So is Quora.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

But what you said to your mother was true. Perhaps she was contented with her home and family life but you were in the vanguard of a new generation of women who wanted more than that - to realise their potential and gain a foothold in a working world that had previously been dominated by men.

Rachel said...

A young girl on the farm opposite ours won a scholarship to the grammar school 15 miles away. Her family refused to let her go because such an education was considered not necessary for her so she never went. (This was in the 1950s and the knowledge of this attitude frightened me at the time). At the age of 15 she left school and went to work in a factory and worked on the farm at weekends. However she also set out to educate herself and went to evening classes and basically defy her family and eventually went off to teacher training college and qualified as a maths teacher. The family never acknowledged her success. It continued to be a sad story because her brother and sister who remained at home also never accepted her success. I don't know why I am telling you this but your post reminded me of it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Isn't it interesting from reading these comments how the world has changed and our views with it.
I suppose it happens with every generation but it just seems more so in our lifetime.
And Heather - when I look at your marvellous art work I am astonished that you didn't partiicularly shine at arts and crafts at school; I would guess that you didn't have the right teacher.

Frances said...

Dear Weaver, thank you very much for relating your educational experiences in this post. Seeking knowledge and remaining curious about a variety of topics seems to me to be a wonderful characteristic. During my lifetime, education has been re-defined many times. I am quite fortunate to have been the first member of my immediate family to have obtained a university degree. That achievement did not always guarantee a peaceful, encouraging atmosphere in my family.

Nevertheless, I am still a very curious person. I appreciate Donna's mention of Khan Academy, a resource new to me.

All the comments are quite interesting. Happy Weekend to you all.

Barbara Womack said...


Your warning about taking care about words reminded me of a story I saw last month. Perhaps you saw it as well. The comparison of our words and toothpaste seem strange at first, but what a powerful mental image!
Here's the link to the story. http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/mother-tube-toothpaste-demonstrate-power-words-daughter/story?id=41422294

Maria said...

When I was a little girl and I would misbehave, my father would say that he'd send me to boarding school. When we moved to a farm, I was 14 then, there were no high schools in the vicinity so I had to go to a boarding school. One day, I jokingly told him that he'd eventually succeeded in putting me into a boarding school - he was terribly hurt - I wish I had never said it.
Greetings Maria x

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Futurelearn courses are online if you want something quite stretching!

John Gray said...

A nice phrase to end on

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Great story about your journey and learning - and great saying too.

angryparsnip said...

So interesting about wanting to learn and going further.
My Mum always helped me out as she could and I stayed at home
worked my way through University.

cheers, parsnip

Cro Magnon said...

Friend P is absolutely right, especially about 'the spoken word'. I have never forgotten certain unwarranted comments, and I regret certain things I've said. However, there's no going back, and I try to make sure it doesn't happen again.

local alien said...

Love reading about your life. So different from mine. Ahh those words. Once they leave your mouth they are ingrained forever. I know too well.

The Weaver of Grass said...

What a lot of interesting comments this has generated. Thank you to you all.

Linda Metcalf said...

I've been there enough times that I now rarely speak without thinking ....

George said...

A wonderful piece of wisdom, Pat. Thanks for that.

Fairtrader said...

Dear Pat!
This was a very touching and wise post. It seems that children and parents mostly have different opinions about what is important and what is not. Youth have questioned the ways of their elders always , sometimes you grow out of it and come to terms with the wisdom earlier rejected. However, that very painful wisdom that we all must learn from the word that never should have been spoken, is much harder to come to terms with. I can understand the feeling you have, I have done the same from time to time and I can feel the turmoil it causes inside every time I think of it. Best to let it be and try not to repeat it, as someone commented. My mother wanted to study but there was no money, I'm glad you found a way and was happy about it.