As Herbert Kohl approached seventy, he realized the image he had of himself (energetic man in midlife) was not in keeping with how he was viewed by others (wise grandfather figure). To counter the realization that he was growing old, Kohl, a staunch believer in lifelong learning, set out to try something new. While on a walk, he happened upon a painting studio and on a lark signed up for a beginning class. When Kohl arrived for his first lesson, he was surprised to see the students were Chinese children between the ages of four and seven.
Now, after three years of study, Kohl tells us what he learned from them. He shares the joys of trying to stay as fresh and unafraid as his young classmates and the wisdom he unexpectedly discovers in the formal tenets of Chinese landscape painting. As he advances into classes with older students, he reflects on how this experience allows him to accept and find comfort in aging. For anyone who feels stuck in the wearying repetition of everyday life, Kohl's adventures will clearly illustrate that you can never be too old to grow from new experiences.
"In this memoir, seasoned educator Kohl (36 Children ) comes to terms with entering his twilight years. Kohl devoted his career to alternative education and to social justice, and in his mid 60s he created and directed a teacher-education program at the University of San Francisco that merged these two passions. In its fourth year, the program folded due to lack of funding, leaving Kohl despondent. On a walk through a predominantly Chinese commercial area near the university, he happened upon a fine arts school and on a whim signed up for beginners' level Chinese ink painting. On the first day of class, he discovered that he was by far the oldest pupil-his fellow students were five, six, and seven years old. He decided to stay, and over the next several years, painting took on a meditative quality for him. Kohl tells of studying alongside the childr