I am to start teaching several of the ladies, and some of their daughters from our church how to sew.
I feel uniquely unqualified to do this.
I know, I sew a lot. I've sewn a lot of different things. I've been sewing for years now, and yet I still feel unqualified to teach a class on sewing. Now why is that?
I think I feel that way because I have never been taught how to sew. For the most part I have muddled through, and I do mean muddled, on my own. I have picked up a few pointers here and there, but the vast majority has been learned by doing it wrong, tearing it apart and starting over.
I don't know why we have such a mind-set about "professionals" in this country. I don't want to make it seem as though they have no place, they do, but we need to keep in mind that they are just people. Absolute trust in professionals, thinking they are the only ones that can do something, is one of the things that makes people doubt they can teach their own children. It also makes other people doubt that you are capable of teaching your own children. It's not that I felt qualified to teach when I started homeschooling my own children, it's just that I was so opposed to institutional learning (and we could not afford private tutoring) that I felt I was the best option for my children, despite the lack of any professional training in that area. People fall into this same trap with doctors. I have gone to the doctor, been diagnosed improperly, given the wrong medication (which caused an awful reaction because it was the wrong med.), and had to go back, just to be told by someone else that I had exactly what I suggested to the first one was wrong. The problem was so bad by the time it was diagnosed properly I nearly had to quit nursing in order to take the medication that they suggested was the only one that would work. I pitched a fit, made them come up with another solution, and as a side note, got them to refund all the doctors fees I paid. In my opinion, it was bad enough that I was having to spend MUCH more money on medication than I would have had too, not to mention all the addtional time (and discomfort) it was taking to cure the problem, than if the first one had just listened more carefully, asked a second opinion, or done just a bit more research into the problem. I also sought help from someone who knew about herbs in order to use those remedies along with the prescription to help solve the problem. I have also had to insist a doctor care for me during a miscarriage (I didn't know for sure I was miscarrying, but I did know something was wrong). I had none of the typical warning signs that something was going wrong, so he attempted to brush me aside and it was only at my insistance that he looked into it more and discovered the problem. I'm not saying that we shouldn't use doctors, obviously I do, but we should trust ourselves more, and understand that the professionals we look up to are just people. Yes, people who have had specialized training, but still - just people. They will make mistakes. They will be tired, or ill, or going through personal problems that will keep them from being at the top of their game. They will be influenced by their training, which may, or may not have been all that great. We have to remember that when we are trusting someone, we are trusting everyone else that taught them, along with all of the expierence they have gained on their own. We need to understand that just because something works on paper (which is really just something working in theory), it doesn't mean it will work in real life, but that many people have been trained to think that it will. Many's the time my father has had to make adjustments to a blueprint because the engineer, who had not actually worked with whatever it was they were working on, didn't understand how things would react when put in different situations.
Bottom line - Professionals are important, but they should just be one aspect in whatever it is we are doing. We need to educate ourselves with regard to whatever we are undertaking. We need to trust our instincts. We need to talk to other people, but remain objective about the things we are told. We need to learn how to do things for ourself and teach those things to other people, especially our children. Some people naturally teach a bit better than others, but when it comes right down to it, if you know how to do something you can teach someone else how to do it. People have often been shocked when I would tell them that I let one of the older girls teach the younger ones some aspect of their schoolwork, or on ocassion an entire subject, but if the older one knew about the topic why couldn't they pass that information along? Plus, it became a great way for me to see exactly how good a grasp the older one had on it. I know I learned a lot, about a lot of things once I started homeschooling my children.
Learn. Learn everthing you can. Learn some more, and then teach someone else.