I was a teenager when Dad died, and I became aware that he hadn't taught any of my siblings how to fix anything -- and yet stuff still needed fixed. I also came to realize that I didn't really know how to fix a lot of things. I knew my tools and had an idea of what they did, but my fixing lessons had often ended at the swearing, and I didn't see how things were completed.
Part of the Dad lessons had involved sitting in the shade with iced tea and contemplating our next project. He encouraged me to think innovatively and considered my ideas, so I understood the theory of fixing stuff, if not the real experience. When he was gone, I had to try on my own. I quickly came to understand that swearing is an actual part of the process. I got creative with that too, but left out the blasphemy.
I started feeling pretty good about myself for my home repair skills. I may not have known what I was doing, but found ways to make the plumbing work and repair things Bro1 broke. Just because I know how to replace a broken window doesn't mean I will.
When I bought an old house after college, Bros3&4 were old enough to get into trouble or help with projects when they came over for the weekends. I reinstituted shady iced tea contemplations, and me and 2 little boys managed electricity, construction, wallpaper, and moved large objects. I didn't actually need to do all this, but it was a good way for us to spend time together. We went to the hardware store and talked to old guys who knew how to do things the right ways. These are happy memories for all of us.
This week, I really looked at a door my Dalmatians scratched up about 20 or so yrs ago. It's a nice door, with lots of panes of windows and decorative mullions between. Looking at the deep scratches was depressing, and I was tempted to ignore it like I have for so long, but this time I decided to try fixing it with wood putty.
I did a pretty decent job of it. I spent the entire day today painting it -- even though Ohio weather has gone back to winter and the whole project was lousy to do on a day when the daffodils shiver. Not to mention I'm noticing all the other woodwork that could use wood putty and new paint. I wish Bros3&4 were coming over for their weekend project.
Not knowing how to do something isn't a good reason not to try. Nobody is born knowing how to fix anything, create something. Encouraging children to think instead of merely existing and obeying is a gift that stays with them throughout their lives. Thanks Dad!
I'm pooped from painting the door, so office tools are good enough for today.