"...many people are easily defeated when it comes to applying practical domestic skills. There really is no secret to running stitch or cake baking or bulb planting. We all have the ability to do these things, it's just that some people don't believe they can. They have lost the gentle art of self-reliance, and lack of practice erodes this further" (The Gentle Art of Domesticity, Jane Brocket, pg. 123).
Late last night I sat cozy under my first quilt, reading The Gentle Art of Domesticity till well past bedtime. This quote stirred up my thoughts as I reflected on our day.
The children and I had made felted wool soaps. This mama inspired me and this one showed me how. I had practiced on Tuesday, because I'd never felted before and was worried that things wouldn't "take". Practice may seem rather over-the-top, but I had invited a not-so-crunchy friend to make wool soaps with us. So, I had to impress her, of course!
The children saw me messing about in the sink on Tuesday. "I want to do it!" "Can I make one?" Enthusiasm aplenty. But, I couldn't shake this nervous "what if things go poorly" feeling. When my friend had to cancel cause she was sicky-poo, I was sad but slightly relieved. So yesterday morning we made wool soaps - just Aria, Liam and I. It took lots of rubbing, but the children made it through 2 a piece. To simplify the process for them, I covered their wool-wrapped soaps with a stocking during felting. That worked great!
So, what does this have to do with Jane's book?
It seems to me that the pristine heart of a child has no qualms about trying. Unless we plant seeds of the fear of failure, they meet new projects, new challenges, new experiences with such positive expectations. In fact, their success doesn't even surprise them. It may surprise us!
I guess it's right and proper that we learn over time that sometimes we will try and not succeed. But, oh, that we would always have the courage to try! In stitches, getting past those reservations against something new is truly half the work of progress.
"A misshapen cookie, an uneven row of stitching, a floppy hyacinth and an uneven pot of basil are still better than the bland, neat and regular store-bought versions that look and taste like everyone else's.
Just give it a try" (pg. 124).