The arc of lifelong learning

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Last night I read a description of the boyhood of Quanah Parker to my kids:

“…[as prepubescent boys] they roved about in gangs, wrestling, swimming, racing their horses. They would often follow birds and insects, shooting hummingbirds with special headless arrows that had split fore-shafts. They shot grasshoppers and ate the legs for lunch…”

All this play was leading up to something, though. By the time a Comanche boy had been recognized among his People as a warrior he could:

“from fifty yards…reliably hit an object the size of a doorknob four out of five times. From ten to fifteen yards he could shoot a twenty- to thirty-inch arrow with such force that it would drive entire through the [body] of a two-thousand-pound buffalo if it did not hit bone.”

The relative usefulness of archery in the 21st century aside, what knowledge are you/I/we teaching our children that describes so straight a line in transformation into essential lifelong skills as adults? Fishing? Honesty? Mathematics? How focused are you/your kids on these things in daily life?


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