I’ve always heard that “it” always skips a generation. Things like having hair or not, or being smart or not. I’m beginning to believe it is true. My father’s idea of building/constructing/working involved a pencil, paper, and a cigar. True, he purchased tools, but I can count on one hand the times he actually used them.
My grandfather, on the other hand, was apparently a bit better. He worked as a foreman in a shop (picture turn-of-the-century at this point), and died in it (boiler explosion). Both of my sons, despite REPEATED attempts by me, never thought much of manual labor (whether it was actual, physical work, or designing/building something).
I tried, and tired, all of my life, to get them to do things. My youngest said (and still does), that he will hire someone before he would physically work (he’s a computer programmer). My oldest is better, at least he’s not afraid to get dirty and work. However, he is always looking for the fastest, easiest, and shoddiest way to do things. Who cares how it looks, at least it’s done. Now he can go watch football, baseball, or hockey.
I started to learn working skills in middle school. I spent a summer building a cabin in Northern Michigan. I did everything – concrete, framing, sheathing, plumbing, and electrical. If it was required, I did it. By the time I was of legal age to drive (I used to drive to the store as a 14 y.o to pick up cigarettes for me and my teacher), I had a fair amount of knowledge of building things with power tools. Then came my first car.
My father insisted that I take it in to the dealer for an oil change. Fair enough – I didn’t know how to do that, so what the heck. I was working at the Chrysler Sterling Stamping Plant on afternoon shift. I arrived at the dealership with plenty of time to make it to work at 3:30 (or so I thought). Nope, I barely made it to work. The next day I purchased a Chilton manual. It was also the last time anyone worked on my car – for any reason.
Segue to yesterday.
My youngest son, wife, and their son live with us. I’m privileged having my grandson live with us, and that he is interested in things that I’m dong in the shop. Every day he will walk to the shop and tell me it’s time for dinner. Then he looks at what I’m working on and will ask – what are you doing, papa? I take a few minutes to explain what I’m doing, and sometimes will let him shut down the DC with the remote. Last night he came in, asking the same question. This time I let him use a palm sander.
We worked together and clamped the piece of maple to a box.
Next came the safety talk.
We finally got down to the real work – sanding.
Finally, the “finished” product. Time to show his mommy.
He’ll be 4 in November. He is very cautious in the shop; I am always telling him that he can get hurt very bad, and I don’t want that to happen. I guess I’ll need to pick up a pair of safety glasses pretty soon.
I’m hoping that he’ll take interest in making things – I can always use good help in the shop and on the job!
-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.