For The Next Generation Of Classic Boat Lovers
Boy, did my rant hit a nerve. I received countless un-publishable emails, due to wishing to stay anonymous. We also received a record amount of comments. One interesting theme in all the comments was the term “expert novices”. I was intrigued, since I my self fall into that category. OK without the expert in front of the name. But since I am publishing and writing, I could come off that way. At first I was taken back. I would never want to be thought of in any negative way. And that very term is, well. Negative. It’s a put down. Or is it? I know many of the “expert novices” that are spoken about. And I like them, I respect them, and frankly rely on them. I also relay on “expert lifers”, folks that have lived the history. The combination punch is were the truth lies for me. I was the president of my church council. A thankless job of politics and trivial ego stroking… I remember folks leaving the church because we changed Mrs Johnson’s curtains. They had been there since 1969…. She was dead…… But oh boy. We were trying to change things… A division happened in the church between generations. One trying to maintain power and the other trying to feel a sense of belonging. The interesting out come was the simple observation that both generations needed each other. The “novice experts” needed the “expert lifers”, and to some surprise the “expert lifers” needed the “novice experts”. Once that took place things started working out. I write this because there are many similarities. Classic boats by there very being today are with us because of a desire to keep things the way they were. And there for any change is considered wrong. Ironically the debate of this very issue of change is being pushed by the novice crowd. They want things to be the way they were. The lifers know that things were not that black and white. The “novice experts” are the ones doing the web sites, publishing and documenting. The lifers are crying fowl to the ridged standards. This is history in the making. It’s the process. The sausage making of history. It is one of the most exciting times in the Antique & Classic Boat community. Standards and stories are being documented before it’s to late to rely on real life experience. The memories of actually using a classic boat in real time are fading fast. And the only folks that can translate those memories are of course going to be novices. One thing is for sure. Both parties need each other. Time is running out. Now of course I am being rather black and white here. Only to make a point. I consider many of the “expert lifers” as pals and take their life experiences to heart. As I said, the truth is in the middle, at the intersection of factual truth and memories…. What an exciting thing to be part of. What an exciting thing to preserve. Woody Boater
One way to bring about a true collaborative effort between seasoned expert lifers and their counter part, expert novices (and any novice for that matter) would be to consider bringing about some form of “Reverse Mentoring” that would bring the two categories together.
The toughest part of this concept is for both groups to put egos aside and occasionally reverse the rolls of teacher/student while respecting each others knowledge and expertise, and in each groups abilities.
The lifers have grown up with “hands-on” and “first-hand knowledge” of things and may be challenged with today’s high-tech world. Novices, on the other hand, usually are prepared with today’s technology and keep up with day to day advances.
As Woody Boater said, each needs the other. The novice needs to embrace the lifer’s knowledge. If not it will soon be gone. Likewise, the lifers need to embrace the novice’s technological experience and modern means of accomplishing things.
Reverse Mentoring is being successfully applied in many businesses these days and there’s a good possibility that it could be successful in our little niche as well.