The Blacker the Pot… Guest Comment by Paul Curran

“Ahhh, Robyn, well said. Bravo”.  Well, when you’re getting an opening like that in reply to one of your posts, you know you’re going to do some reading.  I’m one of a great many bloggers who enjoy getting the insights from one of our favorite readers and occasional guest blogger, Paul Curran.  When I read through his entire reply to my last post “Hello Kettle, Black Pots Steam & Trumpet”, I had to share his unique and enlightening view, and so I decided his was a comment that was really a post of its own.  I hope you enjoy his thoughts that expanded on my post about hypocrisy.

KettleCallingPotBlack (2)Ahhh, Robyn, well said. Bravo. Matthew 18:15-17 “15“ – Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault is between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16.  But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’[a] 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” Basically, after you have tried, walk away and do not keep company with those who will not listen.

You know Robyn that when you are making a stew for nourishment in that pot – the longer it simmers, the blacker the pot gets and yet the tastier the stew. The outside blackness can be a result of making excellent nourishment to feed the soul. Mind you if boiled dry and ignored all can be ruined in a black pot. So, the blackness can mean two very different things – or as another old adage goes to make an omelette one must break some eggs. I agree you are right on about teachers teaching what they need to learn. and in perfection, those who teach for the best reasons do so because they know they need to learn and in fact pursue learning simultaneously.

One blogger that comes to mind is Beth over at She is continuously learning about life and she teaches for a living. I had a French teacher at work (1/3 of our customers were French so the company sponsored lessons for management who dealt with these customers)who was amazing. I spoke to her one day and it turns out that although she had two degrees in languages and was fluent in six languages (she was a university professor), she was spending her evenings learning German because she said she could not teach properly unless she could see the students perspective and she could only do that if she was learning too.

We were also training in a new computer language for the company main frame – a much more efficient language. This teacher was also excellent and could answer any question from the trenches so i asked how that could be so when he taught full time. His answer was telling – he said that he could only teach while he was doing the job and all the learning that goes with it so he worked 40 hours a week teaching and 40 hour programming.

Interestingly enough, given that mistakes make the pot black, I think those who are the best at what the do have leaned through mistakes – many mistakes, so very black. At one point Babe Ruth was the home run king of baseball – and yet what many do not mention is that he was simultaneously the strike out king. His pot was black from trying and from learning from his mistakes. Thomas Edison once said to a reporter that he did not fail 1,000 times when he was looking for a workable light bulb filament, but rather he found 1,000 ways it didn’t work.

So, as is typical of real life, differential equations and quantum mechanics, there can be more than one correct answer as to why the pot is black and the answers are sometimes diametrically opposed. (Just as the square root of 4 can be either 2 or -2.) She who makes many mistakes in the learning process has a black pot and he who continuously makes mistakes because he doesn’t learn from them also has a black pot. They are both understandable and immediately identifiable. The ones that make me wary are those whose pots are supposedly clean – they know not of what they speak or they are hiding their mistakes. Both of which make me nervous.

-Paul Curran

11 thoughts on “The Blacker the Pot… Guest Comment by Paul Curran

  1. Thank you so much Robyn for publishing my comment. I am honored. I agree very much with your position. When I was the Regional Safety Director for a gas tanker company, I stressed this daily with employees and especially trainees and new drivers (new to us – each driver had to have at least 5 years experience to even apply). Learn as you work – always. There are so many challenges when hauling fuel, that no one ever sees or knows it all. I taught the new drivers that their training simply got them to the level where they could continue learning safely on their own. As soon as any driver began to think he knew it all, that would be the beginning of the end for them, Inevitably they would make a mistake that would cost them. I had a driver Rej (short for Rejean) who was an excellent employee. He had a great attitude, a welcoming and caring personality and he could accomplish more in a day safely without rushing,than any other driver. I used to use him for training new drivers. One day he finished his day having accomplished an enormous amount of work. He strolled into the office and I had to ask:” Rej how do yo get so much done in a day?” His reply was classic Rej: ” First I do it all the wrong ways and whatever is left is the right way to do it.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have appreciated so many of your comments, not only on my pages, but on so many other websites too. You have certainly built up a particular following despite not having your own dedicated website. I’d say that speaks more than volumes about how you relate your stories and relate to all of us. This was more than my pleasure, Paul.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. That’s very good insight Paul. I’ve met people in their 50s who refused to attend training because they felt that they had learned enough. Learning, doing and teaching/sharing should be an ongoing cycle.


    • Hi Dan! Thanks so much for dropping by for a read and a chat. I agree completely with you. In fact I would add – only as an observation, not proven – that those who are always learning seem to stay younger both physically and mentally.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I fully agree with your statement that “those who are always learning seem to stay younger both physically and mentally”.The only difference is that IT IS and not SEEMS. I am running 84 reading is my first hobby and as u mentioned , i stay young both physically and mentally.That is I know well that what i have learnt in the 8+ decades is only a drop of the ocean and have to spent what little time i hve in this world has to be fully utilised for getting knowledge. This makes the mind very busy which in turn keeps the body fit. Raghuraman –India

        Sent from Samsung Mobile

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for reading and commenting raghuramaniyer. It is a pleasure to have you visit. It is wonderful that continual learning has kept you so young. I am hoping I will be as youthful as you are if I reach your age. Thanks again for dropping by.


  4. Now, even though I kept hoping to find out the answer to the kettle, I LOVED Paul’s take on the blackness of the pot. This was a very good read. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, kindred sister! I’ve missed you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for dropping by Rachel. Robyn will be with you shortly. I am honored by your compliment. Please come by again.


    • Well, it looks like I’m destined to keep missing you for awhile, but mostly in commenting to your stories. Being able to get them sent to my email is a godsend, so know I still get my share of Kindred spirit, I’m just not logging in as much to comment.
      Thanks for the visit, sister… ❤ always.


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