I guess you can call this a rant.
I was recently speaking to someone who has been a beekeeper for the last 30 some odd years. I know it was over 30 years because he made a point to keep telling me at several points during our discussion as though it were a punctuation mark to his statements.
First off, I can appreciate anyone who puts the time in over the course of their life to doing something they believe in doing. I can respect that , if you know what I mean.
I have worked in a few various jobs and positions, quite varied during my still young but storied career thus far. I have had the opportunity to work with true 'craftsman' who put every ounce of themselves into doing a job and doing it the way it should be done. One was a carpenter who was an instructor when I worked and took classes in carpentry. This old fella was a HUGE PITA taskmaster. BUT, by the time you were done learning things his way, you knew how to handle wood. No doubt about it.
I have worked with others like him in other places and I always leave thankful I knew those folks and glad they spent the time doing what they did.
On the flip hand, I have known folks who have also spent the last 20 to 30 years doing something and doing it not so good during that time. One was a 'counselor' at the same place I was working for the YMCA. by the end, he decided he had to push 'seniority' on me because I didn't do things the way he always wanted me to do them, yet my record speaks for itself, Iwas very successful at what I did. He on the other hand, well, not so much.
He decided to tell me that regardless of my success, I should be doing things the way he did because he had been doing this for over 20 years you know. That's just the way it's done. ( Mr 20 years was eventually replaced, btw)
The whole reason I write this down is to say I have met people who have spent many years doing what they did, some of them obviously did a very good job at it, and others, despite how long they spent doing it, were really not all that good at it.
Why is this relevant? I don't put a lot of stock into the "time in" argument. Not so much.
The more people try to tell me something MUST be done a certain way because that's how it's been done for the last ( fill in the blank) years, I hear little alarms go off.
This beekeeper the other night, well, he set off the alarms because he insisted that top bar hives were just plain "wrong" and, well, he had other colorful things to say about it as well.
so, Just on a general note, when someone wants to make a case on something being "right" or "best" based on the "that's how it's been done for..." argument, Idon't work well with that. itend to let the persons body of work speak for itself rather than how long he or she has been working at it.
Regardless of how much I can appreciate the amount of time over the years someone has spent doing something, I respect far more the intent, commitment and willingness to keep learning.
it's very very true that sometimes, the old ways are the best. But not always, and each person sometimes needs to discover that for themselves. Sometimes personal experience is the better teacher.
Personal experience brings with it discipline, a sense of humility and a sense of pride that you "did it". Sometimes that is better than anything a book or a lecture can give you.
Combine learning from others AND personal experience, and you have one prepared person.
I want to personally thank you long time beekeepers who hang out here and share your experience and knowledge with new folks. I also want to thank you for stepping back and letting others walk their own path when it was time for that to happen as well.