Noticing with The Knott Family
It’s Friday morning, and I hop on zoom to see that Nate is in a room with pottery projects stacked on the wall behind him. “Where are you?” I asked, and learned that he is in his classroom. Nate Knott is a high school art teacher and father. He and his wife Mindy have three kids- Kalen, (16) Eddie, (14) and Jace (10). Learning that he was zooming in during his plan period made the moment feel very present and valuable. So after asking a bit about his pottery business, we got to the questions.
Our main focus was this: What have you Noticed and learned from your kids during this 2020 year? I couldn’t wait to find out.
Hayley: So you have three boys? Nate: Yep. Kalen, Eddie, and Jace. I got the name Kalen because I’m a potter, and Kalen is the purest form of clay.
Hayley: Oh my gosh that’s so cool. I love how you brought that together. Nate: They’re great kids. Hayley: So three boys. What have you Noticed in them this year? Nate: I just remember when the pandemic took off. We were out of school for that last quarter, and everything shifted to online learning. I was watching them closely, because you wonder if it could lead to depression or anything like that. Hayley:
What did the days look like? Every family is different. Nate:
Every day you could tell they woke up and were very diligent about getting their homework done. Especially our youngest, Jace. If you want to talk about somebody who doesn’t wait for inspiration to happen, that’s him. He’s always like, let's just go get to work. He would just get up and grind.
As a dad, there was something cool about seeing that. I'm like, man, you're going to be OK. You know? Because if you can keep this attitude at 10, you're going to be fine. I've got a lot of high school kids that I am trying to teach this to, and the challenge is getting them to work, you know? Jace really inspired me that way.
What about Kalen and Eddie?
Ed is really passionate about becoming a good basketball player. There isn't a day that goes by when the weather is nice that he hasn't been out there shooting hoops for 2 plus hours.
That’s passion and drive.
It is. His skills have improved and watching his confidence grow has been a real pleasure. Hayley:
Nate: My oldest one has inspired me to take advantage of every second of every day. I mean, you want to talk about somebody who lives like it's his last day on earth. It’s this kid. About two weeks in, he goes to his bike and says, “I’m going to talk to some neighbors.”
Turns out, he had used Google Earth to look around our home and search for ponds. He found like six or seven. Hayley:
Six or seven ponds? Nate:
Yes. And he tells me, “I just want to talk to people and see if there's fish in there, and ask them personally if I could fish.” So he goes out, knocks on seven doors, and takes two hours to ride up to all these places and ask.
We have lived here for almost ten years, and in two hours he met more people than I ever have living here. He got permission, no one turned him away, and locked down seven ponds by meeting some neighbors.
That’s some serious initiative.
I was just like, I would have never done that as a child! As a 16 year old, I would have been too nervous and scared. He's just brave, you know?
While what’s going on is not a good thing, I really am thankful for this time they’ve had. I don’t know that they would have spent all this time together if they hadn’t been so bored at the beginning. They found stuff to do. And after two days, they started to realize they don't have enough time in the daylight hours to get done what they want to get done, so there’s that sense of wonder and excitement.
That really does it for me as an art teacher. That is like the most inspirational thing.
It makes you think about what to do with your days and your time. Like, what can I do now that starts that same fire?
I mean, their drive has been a sort of slap in my face. They challenge me. I'm a potter and have been meaning to build a kiln at home. I've been talking about it for five years. I’d like a way to fire my pots, and the bricks are just sitting there. Hayley:
So Kalen came to me and said, “Are we building this or what? This is the time, let’s do it now! What’s the problem?” And you know what, he's right. He's absolutely right.