” I want the eight hour class, but I want you to spend no more than half a day. And I don’t want you to lose anything. Can you do that?”
“The two day class seems like a lot of work. Can you cut out some of the exercises without losing any of the learning?”
“My group really is scared of complicated classes. What can you do to make the topic simple so no one has to ask any questions or see a demo?”
I hear these questions at least twice a month, both about my art classes and my business writing classes. Fun, easy, simple classes are wonderful. Many things that are easy and simple are valuable and worth learning.
But there is value in complicated. Struggle with something and conquer it and you have two valuable outcomes–you’ve learned something new and you have learned that you are strong enough to stick with something worthwhile.
Sadly, challenges are getting a bad name. If something is hard, it is the teacher’s perceived job is to make it easy. I’ve seen the title workshop become “playshop” because, you know, work is hard.
Teachers are not meant to hand people pre-digested solutions to solve problems or to complete a project. Part of personal growth is in the struggle, is in finding solutions, is in completing the work. No one loves failure, but it can be part of a larger success. A life that has no challenges, whose answers come supplied by others does not add any significant learning or meaning.
Struggle for the sake of struggle is not useful. But working hard for what you want brings rewards independent of winning. And rewards are worth working for.
—Quinn McDonald draws out the brave in people. She admires the brave meaning-makers far more than winners.