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20 September 2016


I spent the afternoon in sewing class for the young ladies from the deaf school, helping to bridge the gaps in communicating from English to Spanish to Mexican Sign Language. We watch our master seamstress check the work of the girls since she has been away, measuring distance between darts and looking for the straight stitch and judging seam allowances with a critical eye. The girls wait for the critique, knowing the high standards of their teacher. We see their faces light when told "well done."

There are four brand new girls, just beginning to learn the signs for the craft and the habits of the seamstress. They move to choose fabric for their first project and feel the weight of the cloth carefully, rubbing it between their fingers, judging if it has suitable heft to be transformed into a bag. They measure, and then measure again, and perhaps again, before cutting. They check everything, and have everything checked.

Measure twice, cut once declares the old adage for carpentry. Yet, some traditions say that it was originally said measure seven times, cut once. I keep thinking, how much better off we would be to adapt the same caution in much of life, to plan and then execute, to think before speaking. I remember the correction and then thoughtful praise of the instructor with her learners, how the girls respond to her expectation of excellence.  The girls are not the only students today.

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