I can only reinforce what has already been said by so many about
children learning (for better or for worse) from what they observe
and experience. Two of our grandsons (12 and 2) just spent 6 days
with us while their parents were in London so this thread kinda
sucked me in.
The oldest began learning about my tools about when he began to walk
for a long time he was satisfied to wear a pair of goggles while he
watched me work (he knew which pair was his) and it wasn 't long til
he began to enthusiastically identify which tools were sharp or "don
't touch, it could hurt you", or "only when grandma helps me".
Two years ago he made a pair of heart-shaped earrings and a pendant
for his mother using a jeweler 's saw (no broken blades!), a drill
and files. I showed him how to use each of the tools then talked him
through his project.
I can already tell that the little one will be hankering more for
the hammers and torch than the saw when he gets his chance!
A few years ago, a niece who was visiting with her family didn 't
want to go on the planned fishing/camping trip (naturally: she was
14!). I stayed home with her, planning a little one-on-one, and
suggested she try making something for her mom. She was a natural.
We designed a simple sterling pendant for a smallish opal she picked
out. I showed her how to use each tool as she needed it and
encouraged her as she measured and cut a bezel, sawed the base and
made a wire bail. I was overwhelmed by the precision she
demonstrated with the saw. She was a bit afraid of the torch so I
helped guide her hand with that. She buffed the piece and set the
stone (with my trusty plastic cut-off toothbrush pusher) and was
rightfully proud of the birthday gift she gave her mother when the
campers came home. This niece is now a sophomore engineering
I 'm sure that my belief that youngsters are so capable has a lot to
do with my own childhood.
I was blessed by being exposed to many interesting things while
growing up. Our parents enjoyed a variety of pursuits in addition to
their employment and parenting responsibilities.
My father couldn't read music but played most instruments by ear.
He loved building electronic doo-dads, games and radios (kinda dates
me to say I loved sorting his transistors for him LOL). He built
numerous gadgets and tools that my mother needed as a seamstress,
weaver and sometime art/craft instructor. He even built her spinning
wheel from "stuff" they had saved because "it might come in handy
Mom kept four of us occupied with crafts, textile-painting, sewing,
knitting, and whatever else she was enjoying or researching. I
learned to cook by watching her (she rarely used a recipe) and by the
time I was 10 or so she often "let" me start dinner while she was
sewing. She started spinning and weaving after all of us were grown
and gone, so I didn't get that experience.
My grandfather, a mechanic, repaired all kinds of farm equipment and
cars and my grandmother, who was the best cook and baker around,
could accomplish about any job that needed to be done and showed me
that you can improvise when necessary.
Let the little sponges . . .uh, kids, watch and help. Just be sure
to teach and enforce safety and responsibility every step of the way!
The benefits go far beyond what we will personally witness.