"Then Came Bronson"

As part of the Learning Creative Learning MOOC from MIT, I am writing about something that has impacted my approach to learning. This is based on Seymour Papert's essay, "Gears of My Childhood". When I first read about the essay, I thought about the old alarm clock I had been given as a Christmas present one year, along with a set of screwdrivers. I took apart that alarm clock, looked at how all the pieces fit together, including plenty of gears, but never managed to put it back together into a working alarm clock. Nor, did this experience stay with me as a key force in my educational pursuits over the following years.

So, what has stuck with me all these years? It was a television show that came on when I was about ten years old, "Then Came Bronson". The starting point is Bronson heading off on a motorcycle to find meaning in his life after his best friend commits suicide. Bronson rolls into one town after another and gets involved in the lives of the town people at some crucial point, helping them find a healthy resolution to their situation.

Yes, I loved trying to figure out what made that broken clock tick and I still love tinkering, trying to find out how things work, and exploring how they could work differently. Yet what really pulls it all together for me is trying to figure out what makes the people around me tick and if there are things I can do to help their lives run a little more smoothly.

So, what are the gears of your childhood? How are they helping the people around you? Whatever the answer, "hang in there."

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