Skateboarding, Pedagogy and Motherhood

Photos: Rafal Wojnowski.

My first chat with Esther Sayers happened shortly after I spoke at this year’s Pushing Boarders. Pushing Boarders, if you’ve never heard of it, is basically a conference that brings together academics, charity workers, teachers, professional skateboarders, journalists and anyone else that believes the skateboard community needs to get together and have some serious chats if it’s to ever become as progressive and inclusive as we want it to be. It’s somewhere you go to learn and in my case, well… learning wasn’t always easy (you’ll see what I mean when the footage of these talks go up). Anyway, given how visibly shook I was after my Q and A ended, a lot of my friends came up to me to reassure me, telling me not to worry or that I ‘did well’. This, for some reason, didn’t really do much for me… Maybe because it was expected from my mates, maybe because for me this whole thing wasn’t about ‘doing well’; either way it didn’t have the same impact as the few sentences I exchanged with Esther. The general gist of our conversation was the following: she’d also recently found herself at the heart of a heated panel discussion, answering questions from the point of view of her own experience she’d similarly come across as defensive and eventually, like me, it had completely backfired and gotten quite messy. But it wasn’t necessarily her words that touched me… It was the fact that this incredible human, a bowl carving mother of three who’d presented her fascinating research on one of the previous panels, had gone out of her way to make someone she’d never met feel better, just because she could. At that very moment it was exactly what I needed to keep learning and I thought: if any of what just happened exists in her approach to pedagogy, I want to hear about it, because it works.
Which brings us to this interview… Once back in London I met Esther at Raemers Park for a mid-session chat about how skateboarding ties in with her teaching and research, as well as what she took away from Pushing Boarders. I even got to meet her crew!

– Arthur Derrien

Can you start off by telling me a little bit about what you do?
I am an academic at Goldsmiths: I teach in the learning department and I teach Art. I have a PhD which gives me the title of Doctor and my PhD research revolves around art galleries, inclusion and young people within the Youth Program at Tate Modern for the past ten or eleven years.
The early part of my career was about getting young people interested to participate in looking at modern contemporary art, and using creative strategies to involve them.
Now, my research interests have shifted. It is still about participation but I’ve become interested in looking at the field of skateboarding as a kind of creative practice, as a community and a culture which is inherently inclusive but also inherently exclusive, because of the basic premise that you have to participate in order to become part of it, and that it takes a certain level of skill… It doesn’t mean to be exclusive: it is. But anybody can have a go.
I am interested in what that does to people’s motivation to take part, because one of the things in working with art galleries is that you always had to get new audiences motivated to get involved with the art and that was always the most difficult thing. There are all sorts of learning strategies and theoretical strategies about motivation…
So anyway… I found myself in a university environment with three kids (who are 14, 12 and nine at the moment) and two years ago, they started to learn to skateboard and at that point, I learned to skateboard myself. I got interested in it through them and having been part of that learning journey which in turn has made me part of the skate community, I’ve become more and more interested in how people learn to skate, how it is social, communal and how we share ideas.
With all of my professional interest in education and the way people learn, I was struck by the fact that when we are in a skatepark, a 10-year-old is my teacher sometimes and then someone else’s teacher and that we only take on the role of the teacher for 30 seconds or two minutes, at which point we become a learner again, because we are all learning something all the time.
So looking theoretically and ideologically at learning as being something which is quite equitable and trying to avoid the idea of this ‘expert’ teacher and this ‘stupid’ learner (it is an exaggeration, but I don’t like that model where somebody has all the knowledge and somebody is empty of knowledge), in skateboarding and the skate community, that doesn’t happen. That’s why I think it is a really interesting model… I look at how people learn to skateboard and take it into my day job and the teaching I do.

So adapting that model to a university context…
Yeah, and using it to understand the learning process better and the things which have been problematic – or ‘blocks’ – in a lot of mainstream teaching and learning. So basically using it to better understand why young people have not been motivated to learn, which causes enormous problems… Skateboarding has a lot to teach other aspects of the curriculum and I am trying to extract the things that can be applied in other areas.
As an academic, you have to have a research area and I’ve now made my research area into looking at skateboarding so I have to participate in that in order to understand the learning process from within myself. It’s an embodied learning and in research terms you’d call it perhaps an auto-ethnographic piece of research.

Because you are the main subject…
Yeah. Auto as in “autobiographical”. You are authoring your own ethnography, so your own look at culture… But through your own experience.
The other side of that is that it sometimes gives me an excuse to go skateboarding on a Tuesday afternoon and call it ‘research’!

I foresee that time spent indoors at University getting shorter and shorter…
Ha ha. Yeah my students find it hilarious that every session I teach, I manage to squeeze a skateboarding analogy into the lesson. They groan but genuinely I do think there are lots of crossovers in the way that we learn art and the way we teach art through a combination of skill, technique and style… Or ‘steez’!

Style is such a huge part of skateboarding… It takes so long for people from the outside to understand that though.
Yeah… I just skated over here with my son Rafi, it’s about a ten minutes skate from our house and it was the first time we’ve skated together since he went to skate camp and it was so lovely to see how much more assured he is in his own body, just from having done this intensive thing. So, his level of steez has increased so much just because he’s now beyond the initial learning stages. It’s really beautiful to see. It had me thinking this morning that steez maybe isn’t something which just comes, it is also learned… Only it isn’t a technique or a skill it’s almost more of an attitude.

And unlike your ability to say jump down massive sets of stairs, your style is something that sticks with you forever…
Somebody commented on something I stuck on Instagram the other day saying, ‘Why don’t you wear protection because then you could throw yourself about a bit more?’ and I gave some long wordy answer which was basically ‘because I skate to and from everywhere and I am not going to wear pads and a helmet when I am skating from my house to work’, but I realised as I was watching Rafi that all I needed to reply to this bloke on Instagram was: ‘steez!’

Ha ha.
It’s such an important part of it all! Why do it if there isn’t this lovely style about it. Without that, it isn’t the whole experience. And padding up is a bit like treating it as a sport, isn’t it?

What effect has skateboarding  had on you as a woman with children in your forties?
When you’ve got kids, especially when they are little, they need a lot of your care, time and attention. In my experience there is something very freeing once they get past the age of six, where they become more independent in the world.
I’ve had three kids and each time they were two years apart, which was a very intense 10 year period. Your whole body is given over to either being pregnant or feeding followed by again being pregnant and feeding… I knew with my last child Connie (that I had at 39), that I wouldn’t have any more but it still took until she was six to feel free from that.
As a family, we skied a lot and I remember when Connie was six, she learned to be able to get all the way down the mountain. Suddenly she could stay with us, use the chair lifts, etc. So, the family dynamic changed. She was more independent as she could do all of this stuff and I started to feel more free in the world. Also all that was coupled with – because I had children later than some do – being 45 at that stage…
When you have children, it’s not that you are invisible but you are ‘a mother’. That is all you are and people don’t often see beyond this as it’s the main role you are meant to have in society, it seems. So you come out of that, and you are not just ‘a mother’ anymore, but you realise that you are now slightly invisible as a woman. When I was 34, before I got pregnant with Orla, I had a very different relationship as a woman to the world.
And so coming out of the other side of that at 45 I felt very…hmm… yeah invisible. I think it’s that the perception of a woman over 45 is perhaps different to the way you feel about yourself. You feel as though you are being judged as the age rather than the person you are.
Anyway, there is something about skateboarding which changed that for me. And I don’t mean, as this could be misconstrued, that because I started skateboarding it was a kind of a ‘look at me!’ because it was almost the opposite… There is something about the embodied experience of skateboarding, where you can’t think about what you look like in the world because the second you stop concentrating on the actual sensation in your feet or your body you’ll fall off the damn thing! Particularly in the early stages… So it’s a sense of being able to draw back, far away from feeling looked at or judged, into somebody who is experiencing the world in a kind of exhilaration… And it was fantastically freeing!

What about the fact that you started with your kids? That’s not super common… Did you feel like that helped in any way?
I think it made me feel less self-conscious… Or less exposed. I mean, you do all sorts of daft things with your kids you know?
I wasn’t terribly conscious about that all the time but there was something good about the fact that we were all beginners together… It wasn’t just me supporting them, it became mutual. And with Rafi in particular, for all of the early bit at least, we were learning similar things at the same point and sharing ideas. He then sort of edged away in terms of getting better faster but he became this lovely supportive ‘oh, go on mum!’. He was the person who got me to drop in!

That’s amazing…
Yeah, yeah. Lots of tips. So, I think in these ways having my kids with me has been really beneficial.

I loved what you were saying last time about how they are your kids but also kind of your ‘crew’. Like their friends DM you skate clips and stuff.
Yeah, as we were skating here today I was thinking that they absolutely are my crew…
I was talking to Kyle Beachy at Pushing Boarders about this longing for skateboarding that he felt as a 12-year-old and how that sort of changed as he hit puberty. I was interested in that as I have a 12-year-old… Rafi today seemed so much stronger than he used to be; it really feels like he has grown. And I just thought that any minute he is going to become this really strong young man and is going to leave me behind… Because I won’t ever get to that strength, but for this bit while he is eleven or twelve we’ve had the same kind of physical strength, almost.

Luckily skateboarding isn’t just about physical strength, you’ll be learning just as much from each other. If we all had the same bodies and strength watching skateboarding would probably get boring real quick…
Yeah. It is really interesting… Someone said to me in Malmö that they think the way I carve around a bowl is very precise whereas with my sons, they just sort of jump in: trial and error, trial and error… Until they get it right. They risk injury so much more because they can bounce whereas I am older and I don’t want to risk injury. That’s why I break everything down to get confident and take these tiny incremental steps towards my goal. That probably in the end gives a certain precision to what you are doing.

It’s a much more technical approach.
Yeah because as an adult learning you think things through, you conceptualise more the things you are trying to do. Sometimes I do try to be more like them though…

And how does that go?
Well I need to be like that! But as an adult I sometimes have to use of alcohol as a prop… Two thirds of a pint is perfect to get me a bit closer to being a twelve year old. More than that and I start…

Getting a bit too young?
Yeah ha ha. But I think adults probably do need something to stop them from overthinking.

Can you tell us a little bit about your experience of taking skateboard lessons?
Yeah so we started by going to House of Vans skate school on weekends. Quite often we’d go for two hours on a Saturday and then again for two hours on a Sunday. And we’d also go skating in the afternoons too…

Yeah… And I still try to skate everyday because I just have so much catching up to do! Even if it is just twenty minutes.
Anyway so skate school – and Dave Chesson in particular – were instrumental in enabling me to do things like kickturn and learn to drop in. I needed to know how that stuff worked as it was perhaps a little technical… And it was just a lovely thing to go to with the kids! I remember we were in total excitement the first few times just because we came out with Vans wristbands from the session. It’s funny to think about that now…. We photographed those things! It’s just a wristband ha ha. You get one anytime you go there!
So yeah I think a bit of that instruction stuff is good but only because Dave knows when to say ‘right, now go off and do it’. That’s an enormous part of it. It’s your time in the saddle: you need to put the hours in… And I think that’s probably what I’ve done.

Nobody can learn it for you.
No. You are the only one who can do it and the only way to learn it is repetition over time, which I’ve done.

Did you go to any all girl sessions? What are your thoughts on those?
Yeah so shortly after I went to some girls nights at House of Vans. The first time I remember it feeling so empowering and wonderful… I have this memory of being on the top of that steep ramp in the street course, plucking up the courage to bring myself to roll down there, looking around and seeing such a supportive community and thinking: I don’t feel visible in the same way – as in awkwardly visible – as I do elsewhere. I thought at the time that it was because I was with a group of women, which somehow made it much more supportive and collegiate… Like I was in a gang and nobody was judging.
That’s how it felt at the time but I also do feel quite differently about this currently… I’m starting to think that maybe it was the fact that there were so many supportive beginners there that was empowering.

As in you think you could have had the same experience if it was a mixed group of beginners?
Yes, that’s what I have come to think now. When you go to skate school at the weekend, it is mixed. It’s mixed in age and it’s mixed in gender; I think that is a really good way of doing things because what links everybody is that they are all learning. I am now much more in favour of things being organised by stage or level.
Obviously it’s nice to sometimes have all levels mixed in together, but if we are going to have specific sessions for specific people I don’t understand why we don’t do that in a mixed gender way.
I know lots of women find it good to be in a single sex environment and as I say I did for the first two times I went but now I think I’m going to stop going to girls night. And it’s not just because they are too busy but it’s that kind of very collegiate, very supportive thing has begun to be just a bit annoying when all you want to do is get on with it. Everybody is around the bowl and it is lovely and so sweet… ‘You go! No, no, you go!’ But now I just want to skate!

Fair enough.
And that is maybe because my level has increased so I can go and hold my own, but it is not about gender! That is about skill on a skateboard. I quite like going to the old man nights at Bay Sixty6 now…

If the aim is to bring the community together, do you think it’s actually detrimental to separate groups of beginners by gender?
Yeah. Nobody does this research but I would love to know how many girls who begin at girls nights carry on and how many of the beginners who start at skate school carry on.
My hunch – just from what I have seen – is that I would say skate school encourages prolonging their skateboarding journey. So yes, I think that it works better as a mixed environment.

On the last night of Pushing Boarders I ended up propping up the bar with Ocean (Howell) for quite a long time… We talked through a lot of that stuff because I’d had another conversation about it with Rick McCrank and…

Just some casual chats with Rick McCrank and Ocean Howell ha ha.
Isn’t it lovely? Ha ha.
Ocean was talking about something that had come up the year before in the pro-women skateboarders panel where Elissa Steamer had essentially said ‘if you don’t feel comfortable in the park, then go skate somewhere else until you do’ and controversially, although I didn’t like the way she said it… I do agree with what she said.
I used to come to this skatepark at a very early stage and I have quite a few bits of video of me skating the path next to it as it was just the right gradient for me to learn and get used to carving corners… And when I was a little bit better, I’d go over there and skate that bit of path there which is quite steep.

That bit right there?! That sharp corner looks more dangerous than the actual skatepark ha ha!
I’d definitely land on the grass quite often ha ha. But anyway quite a lot of the time, that was all I needed to get used to standing on the board and pushing.
Also just before I went to Malmö, we did the first skate lessons at Hackney Bumps as part of the refurbishment project for the park. We got some money through Hackney Moving Together and Sport England to do them as a way to reach out to the community and get more support for the refurbishment project.
So, the first ones happen and a lot of three and four-year-olds showed up who for the most part had clearly never stepped on a skateboard and that just seemed really surprising to me… That you would take your kid to a lesson when you’ve never actually even got them to try standing on the thing at home!

Yeah that makes no sense.
Yeah! You have all these really basic things which you could learn at home – on a carpet which is safer – with your parent in a one to one situation where someone is holding your hand or your body.
I can obviously understand it if the parents don’t have the resources to get a skateboard. And a lot of these kids did turn up without a board…

Okay, well that makes sense if they couldn’t…
…Yes, but resourcing didn’t seem to be the issue.

Ah so they could have afforded skateboards?
Yes, I think so. We wanted to reach those families who perhaps wouldn’t have the resources to buy skateboards but I don’t think we got there sadly… But we will, it will just take longer.
Anyway, the point being that there is quite a lot of stuff you can do on your own or in other environments before the skatepark. Think about the skatepark as a piece of equipment, as an exercise machine. I know some people see it as a ‘training’ ground.

Sometimes I kind of think of it like that to be honest. And then the ‘real’ stuff is when you go street skating.
Yes. So, given that, the notion that ‘to do skateboarding, I have to go to the skatepark’ is a really strange one. It’s strange to say ‘this is the designated area for skateboarding’ when as we all know, any bit of smooth ground is lovely for it.
This brings me back to my interest in learning and pedagogy and this idea of the ‘expert’ and the ‘ignorant’ other. That whole thing about learning and who takes responsibility for that learning… People think they need an expert in order to learn but so much learning which we do in life we happen to do without an expert. Or the expert happens to be a friend, or your kid. It doesn’t have to be a designated teacher and because of that thought, I don’t think people take enough responsibility for their own learning or learning with their kids. Because they are frightened… Frightened that this is a dangerous thing, so ‘if I do it, something will go wrong’ and their kids will get hurt when actually in a way probably what we should deal with those situations is to teach the parents as well and not just have it all on teaching the kids.
If the parents learned to skate, if they learned what is required then actually they would be able to support their kids better… Somewhere down the line, I would quite like to set up something like that. I think then we would have a whole load of people who could play a really positive, active roles in the skateboarding community.

And it’s just good to get people of all ages involved…
Yeah. Only the trouble is that as soon as you get people interested in skateboarding, they quickly become interested in skateboarding as a whole and it then becomes about their own skateboarding.

Yeah… And?
Well as the skate community gets older, it could easily become seen as an older person sport by young people at some point and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen. We still really need to make sure we encourage kids to do it.

I’ve never really considered that.
It was when I went up to the big skatepark in the north of Malmö that I really felt it. It was 11am and the park was full of men my age and older. And then one woman who was much, much younger but the rest were grown up, quite mature guys with their pads and helmets and stuff and they were sort of confidently proprietorial… There is a confidence which comes with age which could be off putting to young people if they see adults in a sort of supervisory role. Like if they thought they were going to get in trouble for things that were just part of how they’re going to be…
Some of the kids at Bryggeriet would sort of double take when I’d prepare to drop in, probably thinking ‘wait, she looks like my mum, or my teacher!’ which I always think is quite funny. And it makes me drop in well!

‘I’ll show you!’
Yeah haha. Anyway because of this I am very conscious that my presence probably changes things for them and if the skate community gets older – as it is happening – they need to still feel it is their place, too.
So, maybe with that in mind we will end up with under sixteens nights with no old folks… We might have to positively discriminate towards young people skateboarding! How mad would that be?

It definitely never crossed my mind…
A few people at the conference had comments about kids smoking dope or drinking and I don’t think we as adults should police young people… Unless it is unkind to someone else, then morally and ethically we need to look after those things but I think people should be free to do what they want in the skatepark. And I worry about younger people losing that…
Somebody was talking to me about a project in Baltimore which has been researched by Becky Beal and some others. They did some research into the community which surrounds skateparks and they looked at one in Baltimore and one in another part of the US… The Baltimore one had been policed by parents who became custodians of the skatepark, creating a good and bad behaviour type thing and kept it clean in there… Well I found that really alarming.

For me being around older people drinking or smoking weed at skate spots has been the best way to learn about them… When your parents just forbid you to do certain things it can make you want to do them more, especially if you don’t really understand what these things are.
Yeah, and that is what I said to the person who made that comment in one of the Pushing Boarders sessions afterwards. I would rather my kids – which is what is happening as they are being introduced to people smoking here – know what is going on, know that a joint is being rolled… I would much rather it was in their limited experience of the world than it being totally unknown to them right up until they start to get involved in it. Or, not get involved. Whatever.
And if they come in contact with that whilst I am here that allows us to have some discussions about it. For example, we’d often talk about some of the BMXers here: they are so busy smoking that they never really get to ride. It’s really helpful for me to be able to have that conversation with my kids.

Now that all the Pushing Boarders stuff has sunk in a bit, how could we get more people involved in skateboarding? Or not! Should skateboarding be for everyone?
Interesting… I’ve come back thinking that we all love it so much that we are maybe slightly in danger of becoming a little evangelical in our commitment to skate culture. We’ve all seen and enjoyed that it can be intoxicatingly wonderful when we are all together like that, but we do live in the rest of the world… We have to live with people who don’t do ‘our thing’ and expecting people to enjoy ‘our thing’ is not particularly okay. People like to do all sorts of things… So I’ve come back thinking that I have to remember to keep an open mind and not become completely indulgent. I can become so obsessed with my skateboard, that I don’t want to do anything else. I used to go to films and art galleries and I just don’t really do any of that stuff anymore; if I’ve got any free time, I want to go and skate! But you have to be able to interact with the wider world, otherwise you’ll close yourself off… This week during Pushing Boarders, I felt that if we could just sustain that community forever, then perhaps we wouldn’t need to go back into the real world ha ha. There’s obviously something very positive about skateboarding kind of protecting us from a world which just feels shit and broken at the moment but it can be dangerous…

Do you feel like you learned a lot from the conferences? If so how much of it can be put into practice for real progress?
Loads. That’s my short answer. Absolutely loads. Of course the tricky part is – and this is the same thing which I was trying to talk about in my panel discussion – how do you apply that learning to other situations? That’s the bit where you need to be reflective and analytical about the value of what you’ve learned. Only once you have done that can you apply them to a situation. That’s what I try to do with my academic research: it isn’t valuable in the world if it just stays in my notebook or my university. For it to go anywhere else, it has to be useful for somebody else.
Also the call out which Amber (Edmondson) made regarding Free Movement Skateboarding and about needing support and help was so powerful! That is an example of a danger in our community which needed support and it wouldn’t have been discussed without a forum such as Pushing Boarders where the community comes together and enables messages like that to get out.
I think all of the discussions about inclusion – who is in the room and who isn’t – that have come out of maybe slightly too many panels are what I want to develop next time… We talked about intersectionality a lot and it was part of an important discussion about bringing more people into skateboarding so that the media around skateboarding reflects this broad community; but I think we need to be more practical about that. We’ve said “this is a problem” but I would like to get into the nitty gritty of how we address that. I’d like to look at that both practically and theoretically.

I agree.
Also there’s this an evangelical zeal sometimes comes with trying to include everybody… We’re always saying that skateboarding ‘does good’ but I think we need to examine closely what ‘good’ we are talking about. Just the broad brush of ‘it’s a good thing’ isn’t nuanced enough because some people won’t ever skate, and therefore, does that mean they are bad? If we are saying skateboarding is good, then if it is not skateboarding is it bad?
It’s a bit simplistic. I think we could do more with this….

Yeah… It almost feels like we’re skipping an important step in the conversation.
Yeah… We’re making assumptions without thinking about what we can do. And of course, we’ve heard from so many projects who are already doing amazing things…. Skate Like A Girl and its derivatives for example… Or Skateism! I feel so pleased to know more about these fantastic things but my research has been about art galleries and the political rhetoric which surrounds the inclusion agenda. Art galleries in the 1850s were built in order to ‘do good’, to ‘cleanse’ the working class, to get them out of the pub, to make them ‘better people’…
So, all of those things I am saying are with quotation marks around because who am I to say what is better? How can I say what is good and what is bad? I was hearing some of the same things at Pushing Boarders… And that’s probably never come up in skateboarding before because there had never been an institution. Now that we have something like Pushing Boarders we are almost creating an institution around our culture. This will of course have loads of positive benefits but we have to be careful that it doesn’t produce the kind of rhetoric around inclusion or other issues that we can see in other institutions, where some assumptions are made about the purpose… And things become a little bit homogenised. I don’t think that it is anyone’s intention with Pushing Boarders but it is something to be aware of.

It occurred to me on the plane, coming home – at the next Pushing Boarders (if there is one), we should have skate lessons. There were actually quite a lot of people there who said ‘I don’t skate but I would like to have a go.’ I think lots of these people would be quite pleased to have access to things like Dave Chesson’s skate school. That would have been worth it as a practical way to draw more people in.

…and maybe it could be interesting to talk to these people too?
Yeah. Also I was very surprised… I really wasn’t sure what what my voice was going to contribute to any of this… In fact about four occasions, I decided I wasn’t going to go and thought ‘I need to email Pushing Boarders: I can’t do this.’

I can relate.
Well what a surprise though! Who would have thought that for example a pro skateboarder, who has been entirely engrossed in that community would find what I’m saying useful in some way? It’s like ‘what?!?!’. Because we assume that people who reach a certain level don’t need to know anything else… That must be awful if you are Rick McCrank or Ryan Lay, you know? If a bubble is formed around you by your adoring fans, then how hard must it be to keep engaging? So, now I’ve walked away thinking that actually other voices are really handy… Other voices as in anthropologists and sociologists! But also I don’t just mean academic voices actually – people who work in mental health for example. These people stop our skate community becoming too myopic, inward looking and navel-gazing. They keep broadening it out with these other areas of interest… I think that is really positive and in a way is the role of Pushing Boarders. It is the interdisciplinary, exploration of skateboarding and I don’t think that is happening anywhere else.

Even if you look at the model of academic conferences – of which there are millions – that brings all of the anthropologists and sociologists and educators together. Maybe it might mix those groups up a little but they would all be talking about practice and looking at things that were happening in the world but they’d be talking about them in theory. If you go to an academic conference you’ll hear about loads of papers and some of them might even be about skateboarding but they would be describing this or that and the significance of it. Pushing Boarders actually brought together the practitioners with the thinkers and in some cases, they are one and the same! It meant that we didn’t become overly theoretical about the conversations. They were always rooted in practice and in the doing. And again, this is something very, very special because most academics at a conference would absolutely die to have that access to practitioners!
In fact a guy who doesn’t skate anymore was talking to me at the end and he was an anthropologist. He was saying that he had gotten loads out of it because normally he wouldn’t have access to all that wonderful thinking and also have the value of people’s experiences. So god, who knew that what we do here could have such profound value for so many people!