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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Teach your children well



Are you a handy sort of person? Know which end of a wrench to grab? Not afraid to tear things apart and rebuild them? Great! Do you share this knowledge? With kids?

I know a number of adults who’s fathers never taught them how to fix or build anything. Parents who don’t know how to do that themselves I cut a bit of slack. Just a bit. Why aren’t you and your kids learning these things together? Worse yet, there are plenty of adults who are good with tools and for whatever reason never taught their kids how to use them. They’ve cheated the kids out of a valuable education.

Young kids learn by copying other people. Of course, if they are chased away any time there is “real work” to do, they’ll never learn how. Before long they won’t even ask to watch or help.

I know it can be a real pain. You’ve got to have one eye on the job and one eye looking out for the kid’s safety. There will be a million “why” questions that you’ll have to answer. Tools and materials will go missing. Nails will be bent over. Some materials will be wasted. Sometimes you’ll have to undo the whole job and start over. Five minute jobs can stretch into two and half hour jobs.

Be patient. Be kind. One day the kids will pitch in to help and the job will get done faster and better. They’ll have skills that they can take with them in life. Some find a career that they love. It’s a powerful thing, being a tool using animal. Opposable thumbs are a terrible thing to waste.

So the other day my daughter send my granddaughter over to help me build tables for the van. I showed her to measure and cut wood. She learned the value of a good wood glue and screws. When I needed a measuring tape or a carpenter’s square, she handed them to me.

Of course, the kid is five. Eventually she wandered off. I ran out of wood -when I’d bought plenty. She’d taken my lumber and build a corral around the sleeping dog. I told her that she did a good job, but that I needed the bigger pieces to finish my job. She could keep the smaller scraps. My granddaughter that that was fair. Now she’s got a stash of materials piled under the blackberry bushes. They are like giant building blocks to her.

It’s all good.

-Sixbears








14 comments:

  1. My ten year old daughter came up to me the other day and stated..."you are the best dad ever cause you taught me how to use tools".....

    kind of left me scratching my head,,,,

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  2. There's a lot of things that I wish I knew how to do, but I know many things that I wouldn't if my dad hadn't had the same attitude that you do. I'm thankful that I had a dad like that. I'm sure your kids are, too.

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  3. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)August 22, 2012 at 7:13 AM

    Me too! My Dad taught me to use woodworking tools. We spent many happy hours together building things. I've tried to teach my grandson, but he is not really interested in them. Oh well, at least he'll know what they are used for. Too bad they don't teach 'shop' in schools anymore. He is a good mechanic though. He can tear down and rebuild his dirt bike.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's an attitude of: Maybe I can fix this, that kids should learn.

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  4. I always enjoyed spending time with my Dad while growing up. I've learned so much about tools, yard work, painting, airplanes, cars, money and family :-)
    Over the years family values and teaching kids have changed. I miss the old days where family was everthing :-)

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    Replies
    1. I still have hope for families. Some of this stuff is coming back.

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  5. The trouble is that five year olds want to help but when they get old enough to really help, they don't want to.

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    Replies
    1. Then it's time for an "advanced lesson."

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  6. What a wonderful grandpa you are!!! My daddy had me in the know for changing tires, oil, flushing radiators all the necessary car stuff before I even thought about driving a car. He taught me how to drive a stick shift by going with me to buy my first car and taking back roads home with me grinding the clutch numerous times before we got home but by golly I was expert when I got it home!! He taught me how to paint set ladders use a chainsaw chop wood shoot bats use a CB radio hammer nails and pull them out the difference between using regular screws and wood screws and on and on!!! My Daddy is and always has been my hero!!! At 86 he has slowed but still going!! I have been able to teach my own girls the same!! God Bless all you daddys and granddaddys that take an interest in your babies REAL educations!! It is truly precious and thank you!!

    Florida Mom

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. You are lucky your dad is stilla around.

      Schools don't teach most of the stuff a person should know.

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  7. One of the most pleasant moments in my entire life was when my eldest son got his first phone call opportunity from military basic training. After telling us he hated the depressive sense of miasma in the barracks, but that he was ok anyhow; he suddenly said "Thank you Mom!" When I asked for what, he told me "These people don't know how to DO anything....they can't clean, they can't iron or shine shoes; they are completely incompetent. I am so glad you taught me to do everything you know how to do."

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    Replies
    1. One of the things that turned my lovely wife onto me is my cooking. Good to have all kinds of skills.

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