Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nifty Tools and Other Life Lessons

I replaced a faucet in the laundry room today. I'm not the handiest handyman in the world (ok, who started that resounding 'amen'?) but I can do this stuff when it's necessary. Anyway, it was a pretty tight fit to get at the rusty parts and crank them off, and that aspect of it took some careful work to avoid stripping threads and that sort of thing. Putting the new parts on was much easier, but tightening everything up in such a tight space is a bit challenging. Rather, it would have been challenging if I didn't suddenly remember this nifty wrench thing that is designed specifically for such scenarios and works like magic. And as I reached for it I remembered my dad showing me this wrench.

My dad was a real handyman. He was always fixing things or making things out of wood. When he showed me that magic wrench, there was a real sense of ceremony as there often was when he showed me tools that he found to be really useful. That ceremonial moment would stick in my memory, and on countless occasions such as today, that memory would save me hours of frustration and useless effort. Like a good parent, he passed on little details about life that would make his son's life that much better.

Besides showing me how tools worked, dad would occasionally make little statements that have had a profound effect on my life. Things like saying "Always maintain good credit. Not much is more important than that." Or this: "Don't touch the brakes if you're on pure ice. Steer out of it as much as possible." Another: "Your good name is something you want to maintain above all else."  And my favourite: "You can't rush a good cup of coffee."

So that's what I try to do; I try to pass on lessons to my kids that might make their lives a little easier and a little better. No, I can't pass on much about tools, but I know I've instilled a respect for physical fitness in them, and lots of little ways to be responsible with their money. In the long run, the little bits and pieces of knowledge and wisdom that you pass on becomes the way that you will touch base with them again after you're gone. That is why I had a great time changing that faucet today and touching base with dad again, mulling over some great memories.

So don't pass up those opportunities. Every last one of you is a coach to someone, whether you have kids or not. You know how much impact the words and actions of others have on you, and if you think about it you know that some of those people don't realize how powerfully they have affected you. Not just little tricks and witty proverbs, and not even technical advice necessarily. Just the steady, unflinching attitude you exhibit in the face of potentially terrifying or chaotic situations can immensely soothe others around you.Your sense of humour can ease tensions and make a world of difference.

You matter a lot. So take exemplary care of yourself and show those around you that they matter, too.


Erin said...


First and foremost, thank you so much for stopping by my blog yesterday and commenting!! I'm here to return the favor and I'm about to become your newest follower. I loved this post. I'm trying to do the same with my kids---I have twin girls that are about to turn 5. I can't believe it. THey are little sponges, absorbing everything I do and say without my even realizing it half the time. But I do go out of my way to make sure to pass along tidbits like this. I know we have plenty more years ahead, too, but it's never too early to start.

erin @ the mother load

Myron said...

that must be amazing, twins!! my kids are 21 and 27, whole new phase of life. time flies soooo fast!!