And the warm weather is finally upon us, at least here in Minnesota. The chance to get outside and start on those summer projects that have been burning a hole in our to do list all winter long. For me this is usually the time of year I start thinking about the new picnic table idea or that planter box the wife has wanted, or maybe a fancy new bird house for the back yard, the ideas are always endless. But as the years change so have my interest and motivations, and lately I find myself geared more towards projects with my grandchildren and ways I can have them hands on involved in whatever the project might be. Maybe not so much as to inspire them to be creative or even educate them on how to do something, but more to combine all of this and create something better, a memory. And if they learn something from this memory that's a plus.
I can remember being a small child watching my father repair the water pipes in one of the cabins at our resort, I was fascinated at the work he was doing and eventually built up my confidence enough to ask if I could help him. With out hesitation he looked at me with that smile only a father can give and said "yes". Never duriing this time did he tell me not do anything, he just answered my questions, showed me how, and let me have at it. Looking back on this experience as an adult I'm pretty sure I did more harm then good, and I'm also sure that I created a few extra hours of work for him. But to this day I look back on that moment as a great memory, the time I helped Dad fix the plumbing. Now did I actually learn anything, no. Did I actually help him, probably not. But what he did was instill in me a self confidence in my own creativity and my own abilities without really teaching me anything, he just took the time to let me help. And this is the same approach I had with my children and now with my grandchildren.
Remember the next time you find yourself in the middle of a project or repair and that little voice watching you says " can I help? " give them the opportunity and hand them a paint brush, or a hammer and let them build. It may not be the next Maloof chair or Stickley dresser, but by letting them help you one day it might be. And if nothing else you will instill self confidence in them and create a moment they will treasure forever.
- Tommy P
Woodworking with Tommy P