Photo: Dan Roth/Examiner
I recall from my youth spent rummaging through toolboxes emerald-handled S-K screwdrivers, neatly organized open-end wrenches, and neatest of all, specialty tools. After a Father's Day eve spent repairing the household refrigerator, I wonder what my kids are going to think of three decades from now. I hope that my daughter and son both remember the wonder with which they watched their old man diagnosing a broken automobile, appliance, bicycle, or toy and then carefully, effectively, repairing it. It's important that kids gain a sense of independence, especially now, when frugality is becoming increasingly important.
There is money and power in a set of tools. The power lies in the tools gift of self-reliance. Knowing how to use tools, you gain the ability to build, maintain, and repair your own things; tasks that others would be both helpless and beholden to someone else for, often at great cost. With an entrepreneurial spirit, you can take your knowledge and become the charger, not the chargee - your toolbox becomes an income stream. More importantly than not being afraid to tackle any task on your automobile from struts, to air conditioning, to performance upgrades, you gain knowledge and understanding of mechanical systems and engineering concepts that transcends from mere "grease monkey" to applied science. Spend enough time turning wrenches, and you'll be better able to look at something for the first time, as I did yesterday when my refrigerator stopped making cold, figure out the problem, and carry out the repair. Not only that, it brings all those seemingly useless things they tried to teach us in math and physics clearly into focus, only to wistfully wish hands-on learning in this country was seen as it really is; truly superior to rote memorization for regurgitation on a multiple-choice test.
So, on this Father's Day, I hope that I'm leading my two young ones by example while I keep my household going and my automobiles on the road. Watching that spirit bloom over the course of years - whether or not they actually take up tools, I just want them to be inquisitive and know how to acquire knowledge - will truly be the penultimate Father's Day present, second only to hand-made cards and thoughtfully chosen neckties. Happy Father's Day, all.