Remember that kid in school who claimed she couldn’t pay attention if she wasn’t doodling? Or the one who was always getting in trouble because he couldn’t sit still? (Maybe that was you?)
We now know that humans are not hard-wired to sit at desks, indoors, for 6+ hours a day. It’s, quite-literally, unnatural.
Enter ‘The Fidget’
I first learned about ‘fidgets’ while working with students with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism at the Temple Grandin School, whose staff allows students (with guidance) to select a fidget of their choice. (Incidentally, if you want to see miracle-workers in action and geniuses on their way to success, check out TGS.)
Turns out, fidgeting with an object during classtime helps many students to concentrate.
Of course, given the opportunity to make a buck by selling cheap plastic crap, companies have begun manufacturing ‘fidgets’ of many colors and varieties. (I understand they have even begun to be traded as currency among young students and have become quite controversial.) Remember similar fads like slap bracelets? Jelly bands? Fingerboards? Pogs? (Although pogs had a gaming-value, more than esoteric currency.) That someone has capitalized on the recognition of humans’ need to not sit still is a bit beyond the scope of this email, but I’d like to offer an alternative to buying a fidget – while building a skill at the same time.
Like making stuff? Check out our tutorial ‘How To Make a Hook Knife In 4 Easy Steps‘:
Warning: I consider cordage-making a highly addictive habit. If you choose to follow this path, there may be no turning back. Consider yourself warned. (Though, there are certainly less-productive habits.)
Cordage, or ‘string’ created by twisting together natural fibers, is considered one of the ‘Big 3’ innovations that gave humans a leg-up in the world. (The others being a sharp edge (like stone tools) and the ability to create fire.) But that’s just geeking-out.
I often equate the muscle-memory and patterning developed through cordage-making with ‘your grandmother crocheting while watching Jeopardy‘. She doesn’t need to look at her hands or pay attention to what she’s doing. She’s owning Alex Trebek, while producing something beautiful – without thinking about it.
Crocheting is more like a productive fidget (for her).
You can learn to make basic cordage in 5 minutes and then it provides a lifetime of fidg-possibilities.
Check out the instructional video below, an introduction to cordage that we’ve produced as part of a whole course on cordage for our online-study program The Pack. Feel free to share and/or show publicly!
I’ve taught students as young as 4 to make cordage and I’ve heard it called ‘meditative’, ‘the perfect babysitter’, and ‘productive’ by many different people.
Cordage: Spread the addiction!
See you on down the road,
Learn tons more skills like cordage-making in our distance-based program THE PACK: