An integrated life

The Craftsmanship Academy: A New Model for Preparing the Next Generation of Software Craftsmen

OOPS. Just realized this was sitting in draft version for over a year. I guess my year was busier than I thought.

So, a few months (and a year) ago, I posted about Chris Gregory and the Heartland Horseshoeing School.

Although I shared a bit of his story to inspire you, I didn’t share how much he had inspired me.

Though many had suggested that I had the vision and skills to start a school, I could not see how the modern approach to school melded with the integrated life I sought for myself and encourage in others. However, earlier in 2011, I met Chris Gregory, one of the most renowned farriers in the world. Chris and his family started Heartland Horseshoeing School in 1995, which has earned its reputation as the top farrier school in the nation, and perhaps the world. It is an incubator for some of the finest craftsmen in the world of farriery.

When Chris challenged Ken with the same words, “So why haven’t you started a school?”, and then went on to explain how their school works and that it did not keep him from continuing his craft, it only took a few months to take root and the RoleModel Software Craftsmanship Academy was born.

There has been a lot of controversy about the Academy since I announced it. Some people think my faith has no place in an Academy. Others think education should be “free” (i.e. people shouldn’t have to pay to learn… not sure who they think pays the teachers). Others thought it was a scam. Some thought I should teach more than I was planning. Some thought I should teach less.

My timing and marketing suffered as my parents had a series of medical crises in the midst of our attempt to help them move closer to us. However, we eventually had our first group come through the first session. The results exceeded my expectation. We’ll be doing it again. And I hope many more family-friendly businesses will open their own “schools”. The idea that you need to spend four years of your life and a boatload of money separated from your family with a bunch of peers in a godless artificial environment where you have little responsibility is a really bad one. This is a time when young people need to be learning responsibility from responsible, godly people. They need to develop useful skills in a context of serving others, not learn questionable theories out of context in a self-serving environment.

Our culture pours money into these family and faith destroying environments. We instead need to be pouring our lives into building faith and preparing for the creation of strong families.