| It has always concerned me when the young amoung us are not taugh basic
| skills such as how to change a tire, how to use a saw, how to...well
| you get the idea...there are basic skills that one needs to deal with
| the world we live in. Well this article shows what that lack of
| training, due to whatever reason, means as they get older.
| When I drive through a neighborhood, it is a rare garage that has
| anything like a workshop within it anymore....a reflection of the lack
| of interest or knowledge of the homeowner to work with their hands?
| Do your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, the generation who
| is succeeding us, have the basic skills that are needed in the world
The first thing that came to my mind was: You usually don't have to.
That brings us to my second point: If you don't have to, you'll never
learn how. If you have to a lot, you'll even get good at it.
When I took driver's ed back in the 80's (okay, that puts me squarely in
the middle of most of my peers nowadays, its seems) we had actual cutaway
car components in the classroom. I had grown up sort of out in the country,
so doing mechanical things weren't out of the ordinary for me, but my dad
never taught me much, or not at least actual instruction that I recall. I
think he was satisfied with me taking all kinds of stuff apart and figuring
out how it worked, and even getting lucky in getting it back together again.
If it worked afterwards, that was always a bonus. I think I just had the
knack for things like that, and eventually wound up working on electronics
in the service, where I had some problems with a used car I had. Took it to
a mechanic, since I had no tools or skills, and got my own spark plugs back
for ten bucks, in a car that only ran slightly better. That made me mad, so
I got a manual and started collecting tools. Eventually solved the problem
myself. That kinda told me that I could do whatever I set my mind to.
Nowadays I have a small fleet of cars for my family and little time, or
money, to maintain them all properly. If I would have had newer vehicles, I
likely wouldn't have had to work on them as much, so whether that would have
been better for me financially or not still remains to be seen. Folks used
to ask me if I liked working on cars. "Only when I don't have to." is my
Once my family and financial situation settled down, I got my piece of
the American dream and bought a home. I used to be a whole lot better at
this kind of thing, and could do a good job, but recently have started to
try and balance what I can do, what I could do, what I'll really do, and
it's really something I could do better. Having a major unfinished,
unscheduled major home repair (rotted kitchen subfloor. Overhauled the
cabinets since replacing them with equivalent quality was cost prohibitive,
laid down new sub floor and underlay, but have temporary vinyl tile on the
floor and counters now) I'm to the point where I have to come to grips with
my abilities versus my time, and the cost of the two. I think many people
are in that sort of situation, but for some, money is easier to throw at a
situation, and for some, money is the thing they have the least, so they
have to do it themselves, albeit poorly.
I used to have a job that didn't stimulate me much mentally, so there
was plenty of time to ponder things I wanted to do and so on. I have a very
cool new job that sends me home wiped out mentally, so I rarely feel
inclined to deal with that list of things to do. Haven't touched it in
weeks. Gotta figure out where I can find the round tuits now that I used to
have. I'm starting to have some sympathy with those folks, and I don't
really have a single thing to blame it on. Sort of how things have turned
We sort of went through this awhile back. Americans existed happily on
the east coast, crowded into cramped cities, when the US government started
offering free land west of the Mississippi. I'm sure each family that
headed out had a book or two that explained how to make a living in the
middle of nowhere with little more than what you could have carried with you
in a wagon. Likely even explained what to bring in the wagon, too.
Sort of got me thinking about a series of how-to books for stuff, but
most of that is on the web now, since that's the first place most folks go
for information, even if it's really generic and useless to the rest of us.
Perhaps what needs to be out there is a non-condescending tome about how to
find/acquire the core skills that most of us take for granted when we tackle
a new task, such as righty tighty, doing a visual, gathering information
first, and so on. That bit is missing from every book I've ever read on how
to do stuff, but how to approach such a subject is actually a whole lot
harder than it sounds.