Never underestimate the curiosity of a child. I was reminded of this while doing a weaving demonstration at the Red River Parish Fair yesterday. My booth was set up to show people how to weave, and that there are a number of things you can use for looms. I went from a small 4” pin loom to a triangle loom to a child’s potholder loom, and even demonstrated that you can use a hula hoop for a loom.


Meet Nehemiah

Meet my new weaving buddy, Nehemiah. He took one look at the 4-harness loom, and his curiosity went wild. I stood for a few moments, and watched as he checked out the loom . He walked slowly around it, studying it intensely, and stopping every now and then to get a closer look. It seemed as if he was trying to figure out what it was and how it worked. I couldn’t stand it any longer. With a smile on my face, I walked over and sat him down in the chair. Using my feet, I manipulated the treadles, lifting the shed, and threw the shuttle.  I explained what it was and showed him how it worked. To my amazement, he took to it in a matter of seconds, and wove a good inch or two with very little problem.


The Curiosity of Children

Nehemiah served to prove something I have always believed – children are curious by nature. They want to learn, and if it is something new and different, all the better. We as adults need to nurture that desire and take the time to teach them. I am not sure how you learned some of the skills you know today, but I am willing to bet at least a few of them were taught to you by an older relative, neighbor, or friend. You don’t have to be a child to have a mentor. I am sure by Nehemiah’s standards, I am an old lady (even if I don’t think of myself that way).

I often ask some of my friends to learn a new skill. Next week, my friend Lorea’s mother will teach me the basics of crochet, and at the next Farm Women’s Exchange, Kathleen will be teaching crochet hats.  This gives me the opportunity to stretch my wings, and learn a deeper level of the craft.  I strive to do my best to honor the tradition and teach other people the skills that I have.

Do yourself a favor and be a mentor to someone. Allow someone else to pay that favor forward and become a mentor. It will amaze you how broad your horizons will become. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to learn something new?

Thank you, Nehemiah, for allowing me to teach you something new and reminding me to be willing to teach the curious. You can come weave with me anytime you want. If you decide to learn how to weave on that hula hoop, just let me know.

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.


  1. Gary – In spite of the fact that I was raised in the South, my parents didn’t teach me to see ‘color’ – regardless of race. All I saw was a kid who was curious, and it sent my heart soaring. You aren’t out of line, as, unfortunately, it does seem to be the norm – both ways. What is really bad about that is that both sides miss out on so much by being so stupidly closed minded. Had I that attitude, I would have missed out on just the sheer joy of a child’s joy. Nehemiah has the most infectious smile, and his eyes twinkled with delight as he worked the loom. It’s sad, but I think there are even quite a few young (and older) adults who just need someone to believe in them, take time to teach them, and then to encourage them to spread their wings and fly. I’ve been praying for Nehemiah that his wings will stretch wide and that curiosity of his will help him fly to certain success in his later life. This is all why I am a firm advocate in mentoring. I have no doubt that, whether you ever see it or not, those men you go out of your way for, see your efforts and appreciate it. My prayer is that they, in turn, go out of their way to teach others something positive and enriching. You, my friend, make a great mentor. Keep up the good work!

  2. What a neat young man! I suppose that I read too much into these things, and if so, I apologize and will stand corrected, but to see a white woman “d’un certain age” go all out to mentor a young African American man in the state of Louisiana warms my heart. In the course of my job in the city, I see so many young black men in need of positive male role models. I go out of my way to interact with these young men and try to show them that someone is interested in them as people instead of being afraid of them as threats. –Gary

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