So for the past week or so Becky and I are doing a complete makeover in our son Beau’s Room. So I decided instead of buying furniture, I would make an attempt to make it (all). I got some new tools out of the deal and Beau got some cool furniture. Its a “Win-Win” scenerio for both of us (not for Becky, because she has to wait a little longer to get this project done.)
Now, I would consider myself a “handy” person by nature (and I will explain why a little later.) I can usually figure out most things when they break, or at least make an attempt to fix it. Like my brother in-law would say, “Fixing the problem only takes a little time and a little bit of money if you try it yourself… If you can’t get it done, then call an expert.” Well this is just what I had to do. I was doing some electrical work and I just couldn’t seem to get it right. UGH…four hours later I picked up the phone and called my Dad!
No, I am not afraid to call my Dad for a some help. I learned a little later on in my life (like after I got married and had my own house) that he knows a little bit about everything. As a kid he worked on a dairy farm, helped his Dad and Grandfather on gas lines, worked in a service station, was a mechanic, a plumber, a coach…see just about everything.
Now back to the part about why I think that being “handy” is more by nature than nurture (at least for me).
My Dad didn’t have a choice when it came time to working around the house/farm when he was a kid. It was expected and required. So when it was his turn to have kids, he did an opposite approach. When he was working on the cars he would tell us “Just go Play”. The same went when he would do projects in the house, “Just go Play.”
Now it wasn’t that he didn’t want to spend time with us or show us how to fix something. That was never the case. He would take me and my brother on Service calls when he worked as a plumber and when he was a tow truck driver. They were honestly some of my best memories as a kid. Sitting in an old truck, stopping off at the service station to get a pop (I’m a Yankee, so its “pop”) on the way home.
He just wanted me and my brother to “just go play” He didn’t want us to feel like he was forcing us to work all the time. He wanted us to have the childhood that he didn’t have. So that is just what we did, we played as much as we could for a long as we could. We didn’t learn to do this stuff, and years later I learned that he regretted not teaching us, but that he thought that he was helping us MORE by letting us ‘just go play’ and be kids.
He told me all this when I called to ask for advice on some electrical stuff. He asked me what I was doing and to make sure I was being careful (still his little boy in his eyes). After we finished up the call and we discussed the problem with the electrical I was having, I hung up and sent him the pictures.
Five minutes later he called me back and asked how did I learn how to use the tools and the ideas to make the furniture. I told him I had a good teacher, that I payed attention even when I was told to “just go play.”
He has told me many times that he wished that he would’ve really made my brother and I learn and do more around the house. He stated that in reality we would have benefited more from “learning and doing” rather that just playing.
This is the toughest part of parenting. We all want our kids to “just go play,” but we want our kids to learn. I’ve learned this lesson and I want to try to give our kids the best of both worlds. We ask our kids help with the dishes and the laundry. They help clean their rooms and make their beds. They help wash and vacuum the cars. If they get a toy and it needs to be put together, they do it themselves… with me as the assistant… to help guide them.
Trust me, my kids get plenty of time to play and I am right there with them, but at the same time they have to learn to do these things, so that when they are grown and have a house all their own, they will know how to take care of it. My job, as their Dad, is to make sure they grow up as self-sufficient adults. I want them to be able to do things on their own or at least give it their best shot.
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