The Flagpole

At a time when school was a horrible experience and homework was a painful toil, resisted because it reminded me of school that I wished to make go away, I was persuaded to join the scouts.

I found I could learn knots with ease. I fund that the knowledge of which knot to use in which situation and why was a skill that could be put to good use.

A new world opened up, where learning was for something that was real to me, that I could achieve and practice, quite unlike learning French in isolation from French people or culture, or learning to solve quadratic equations that had no practical use as far as I was concerned.

I built a flagpole in the back garden. A pole with a tea towel tied to the top, and three guy ropes equally spaced at 60 degrees, with the right knots to tension them to the pegs.

I was very proud of it. More importantly it taught me that there was a world beyond school where I could achieve in my own terms, not needing teachers to mark my work.


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