Wednesday, May 16, 2007

De-skilled in America

Normally in the morning I don't care for listening to radio talk shows, in particular I don't care for my local station that has Syndicated Adam Carola and Danny Bonaduce. Today, for whatever reason I had my radio stuck on that 107.7 and was grabbed by the content of discussion. Adam was talking about the lack of training for the group of children that will not go to college. Speaking of the lack of automotive and shop classes in High Schools. I think that though he makes it for a different reason than I, his point is a good one. It is important to know how to do things. Sure you may pay someone else to do many of them, but knowing how to perform tasks is important.

More and more I find myself regretting the decision by my Father to not teach me his craft. My Father works in construction, and has for his whole life. He has been a manager of construction supply store and a salesman of Cabinets, but this all revolves around the construction industry. In particular he has worked in and around the construction of homes. I hardly have the skills to level a picture, and he sells, designs and installs cabinets. He can build from raw lumber things that I would spend thousands of dollars on. He chose to never share with me these skills instead I went to college.

Sure I have a career in "building and maintaining" computers and networks, but I am nearly useless with a hammer and saw. I never intend to make a living with these skills, but I do wish that I knew how to laminate a counter top, or install some trim or maybe fix a poorly hung door.

These are life skills I don't have. I also wish I had been forced to learn to sew; at least well enough to hem a pair of pants or replace a button. When these things come up I end up paying someone else to do it, or following the "Google is your friend" mantra of the hacker community, but what is missing from this equation is the mentor.

So far in this life, I have made a digital picture frame and a patio.

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