My son, Levi, is what I would call an observer. His 2-year-old mind is constantly whirring, and boy that child does not miss a beat – on anything. Within the last month or two, however, I’ve noticed him becoming more involved in his world than simply observing it.

Last weekend, my husband and I took Levi to a nearby park that has some pretty big playground equipment. Last summer, he was just learning to walk and didn’t care to go very far on the playground equipment. He spent most of his time as an active observer, watching the bigger kids run around, climb up ladders and plastic rock walls, go down slides, and blast through tunnels. 

This year is a whole new ballgame. He is scaling the rock climbing walls and ladders as if it’s no problem. It is hard to let go of his hand, but at the same time it’s amazing to see how his bravery and knowledge of how to do things and how the world works has grown in such a short time.

As adults, isn’t our learning the same way? In the beginning, we sometimes prefer to play it safe – watch how other people are doing something, their techniques, and their movements. But how much will this really teach us? It isn’t until we do something for ourselves the first time that we truly gain an accurate understanding of the process.

Restoration is no different. It is important to learn both in the classroom, and outside of it. We need the knowledge from books and industry veterans to lay the foundation for our craft. With that knowledge, we can then head into a job or hands-on training scenario with an understanding of the materials and equipment involved. However, you can’t truly understand, for example, how to dry a building until you have physically done it. All the reading and in-class training in the world still won’t prepare you 100 percent for doing the job itself. You wouldn’t want a doctor operating on you who only went to lecture, and never spent time in residency would you? Didn’t think so.

Thankfully, there is absolutely no shortage of training opportunities in this industry! There are a number of restoration schools and academies that offer both classroom and hands-on training. Plus, more and more industry expos and conferences seem to be adding a hands-on portion – like The Experience does every year, and now the RIA Forensic Restoration Conference. You can read about both inside this issue!

Also, please check out the unique Restorer’s Perspective column. Jarrett really shares some unique insight on how he runs his business, and some pretty shady happenings in the Florida restoration industry.

Wishing you success & balance,

Michelle Blevins