An asymmetrical triangular shaped stone tool with a sharp point and a mottled white, beige, and brown surface, displaying the skilled technique of ancient stone knapping.

One of the many things that I’ve learned from Laura is that people need things to do with their hands. That’s true with virtual workshops where emails are only a click away, but it’s also true in-person as well.

This post talks about this as an ‘ancient need’ which might explain stone knapping. The author, Matt Webb, suggests that we could lift this ‘evolutionary burden’ somewhat by, instead of teaching kids to better tolerate boredom, teach them a skill which involves using their hands. It’s not a bad idea, you know. I was giving kids blu-tack to fiddle with 15 years ago when I was a teacher, and not just the neurodivergent ones!

If I were to try something revolutionary, I mean truly revolutionary on a generational scale, here’s what it would be:

I would sneak a new fiddle urge fulfiller into the national school curriculum.

I wouldn’t plan on teaching kids how to tolerate boredom as they get older, or how to be more comfortable than previous generations inside their own heads. Those are unstable solutions.

I mean instead I would work to come up with something in the family of pen flipping or polyrhythm finger tapping or rolling a coin over the knuckles. Or I’d invent secular rosary beads or make child-safe whittling knives.

Something like that. Self-contained, not networked. Automatic, with room for skill, dextrous.

And I’d make sure this new skill was taught and drilled before these kids even have much conscious awareness, like right when they start pre-school, so it’s there for them throughout their lives.

Source: Matt Webb

Related: Museum of Stone Tools (which is where the image is from)