The Fountain of Knowledge begins in a simple way. Something new can be exciting. It is frightening enough to make your knees tremble. The spark of an idea brings the dream. The dream turns into “I wonder?” I wonder turns into “I have to at least try.”
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Once we reach that stage, we begin our journey by gaining as much knowledge as we can. Before we sold our house in the city, I started searching the library for any books I could find on farming. Oh, I had a few on gardening, but cows? Chickens? I didn’t have a clue.
We sold the house in November but couldn’t close on the farm until March. For Christmas, the Country Boy eased my library trips by getting me Carla Emery’s The Encyclopedia of Country Living. I read every page. And reread it. I took copious notes. Although not the traditional gift, for Valentine’s Day he got me Storey’s Basic Country Skills by John and Martha Storey. I love to read, but I don’t think I have ever devoured two books like I did those two.
Knowledge is very much like a fountain. We start off with a few ideas of how something will be. As we read and study, things begin to flow. It’s as if our initial understanding is the first tier, or cup, in the fountain. As we pour more into it, it begins to overflow. Our cup begins to grow.
We start with the basics. In Journalism, a reporter is going to start with the questions, “Who?” “What?” “When?” Where” “How”, and if he or she is lucky, they may also get the answer to “Why?” To understand anything else – farming, homesteading, gardening, etc. – we need to ask ourselves those same basic questions.
Then comes more in-depth study. We find that we are pouring over gardening books. From basic how to prepare a new garden bed, to making your own compost, to how to grow vegetables, to heirloom plants, to seed saving to…. the more you learn the more you want to know more. Just about the time you have finally figured it out, someone mentions herbs and planting by the Moon signs. You take off running, and realize your cup is now overflowing again, and you need a larger vessel.
The Internet has helped considerably in gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding in just about any area. Social Media helps tremendously. You can post a question and several folks are willing to respond from their perspective and growing zone. Then you discover some great websites that focus on where you are, or where you want to be. You read every post and take notes. By studying, you learn. Once you have learned, you can apply.
Mentors are wonderful people. They also started out with a very small cup. The research was done. They studied. Did the homework. Passed most of the tests. The tests they didn’t pass sent them back to more research, study, hands on, and homework until they passed with flying colors. There are some tests they have had to take several times but knew that this ‘course of study’ was well worth the time and effort. But the more they learned, the bigger their cups became.
With all of the experience they have built up, they are now similar to a different type of fountain – one where their experience begins to flow into other fountains. Mentors are eager and willing to share with others and have learned short cuts that will help. They have the badges of failed experiments and the blue ribbons of successful ones. And they hope that through their experience, someone else will have an easier time. They are there to support, encourage, and cheer on their Mentees.
My personal library is now crammed full of books ranging from the basics to the specifics. In some areas, I have learned quite a bit. In others I am at the tiny cup stage. I am researching, studying, trying, and doing my homework. I have joined groups, followed websites, and in some cases, have become a Mentor to others. There is still a way to go, but I have faith…
I have Faith my first tier, or tiny cup will fill to overflowing with each drop of knowledge I get. I hold on to the belief there is another cup just waiting to be filled. Knowing that my fountain of knowledge will always run true and clear. And faith that God will hold me up through the learning curve.
Read these posts for more information on Mentoring!