Friday, October 22, 2010

twiddling and twirling....

Kids these days are busy twiddling and twirling fingers on touch pads, getting good at what has been designed to grow easier with each succeeding generation of hand held devices. Kids these days, holding those devices, have the whole world at hand, excepting of course, the ability to  make something lasting and tangible of it or within it.

I have been invited to begin regular blog posts on a new Fine Woodworking website dedicated to beginners, and it is really about time that we have all begun to take a greater interest in bringing new and fresh hands into the field. I am grateful for the opportunity and my first posts may come in a matter of a few days or weeks, and I will tell you all when it happens.

Most of the readers for woodworking magazines are in the ages of 50 and up, corresponding with the last generation to have had school based wood shop opportunities. It has become pretty common these days to see children instructing their parents in the use of hand held devices. I heard yesterday of a toddler, 3 years old instructing her mother in the use her iPhone. The same report told that iPhones are being used as baby sitters for children in the same manner that TVs once were. Plop your child down on the bed with an iPhone and you can go do all kinds of stuff, cook, clean, sh_t, shower and shave while your child is entertained and distracted by the device.

It used to be that knowledge was transmitted to the young through the loving attentions of the old and elderly as they passed on their skills and techniques. What you would see in homes throughout every land would be the imparting of instructions in the full range of human creative tasks. What we see in the hands on twiddling and twirling of touch pads by kids is a darker revolution, displacing the heart from the relationship between the very young and very old. I'm not sure what we can do about that, as a broad phenomenon. But on the home front we can still take children by the hand and introduce them to the things we love. When we take the time to cook, fix, make, create, as a shared thing, with children at hand, we are doing what parents and grandparents have always done, and there is power in it that lasts generations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad my sons spent time with me in the shop. Made it easier for me when they were teaching me about some gizmo.

Mario