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.