Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chicks With Hammers

On the first Saturday of each month, I take my daughter to the Home Depot Kids Workshop. We've been going just about every month for about 4 years. She's gone from not knowing the difference between a nail and a screw or how to hammer a nail to working independently to read directions, match parts, start a nail, and drive several without bending them. She's made projects to keep for herself and to give as gifts to others.

Most of the time when we go, we dads are outnumbered by you moms - by a wide margin. I really mean no disrespect in what I'm going to say next - especially since many of the moms in our Home Depot store are smokin'. They're far easier on the eyes than the dads with their sports-themed ball caps and goatees.

But I'm often amused when I see these moms try to help their kids with the projects. One of two things generally happen - or sometimes both:

(1) The mom completely takes over and essentially builds the project for the kid. -or-
(2) The moms demonstrate some god-awful knowledge of how to use tools. They choke up on the hammer handle. They push the hammer with their elbow often bending the small nails. They hammer with the handle end of a screwdriver. And I even saw one mom yesterday using a hammer to bang the snot out of a bolt through 3 pieces of soft pine that would have easily passed through the pre-drilled hole had she bothered to check how the wood pieces were aligned.

I applaud the moms for getting their kids involved with something creative other than video games, and I am indeed amused by their frequent abuse of tools and basic carpentry. However, the question I generally ask myself is "where the heck are all the dads?"

C'mon guys, this is our area of expertise. I realize this statement is a generality of the highest order. But isn't it true? We need to be teaching our kids - sons and daughters - basic skills with tools. How to hold a hammer. How to start and drive a nail. How to use a screwdriver. How to bang your thumb and shake it off. How to read the wood grain of a board. How to sand with the grain. How to use a tape.

These workshops are a great opportunity to help build those skills and to help build confidence. The projects aren't for you to do, but to help them. Surely the golf game, mowing the lawn, sleeping in late, going to the gym, office work, etc. can be delayed one hour on the first Saturday of the month to spend time with your kid learn these skills. Basic projects at a young age leads to more advanced stuff later like power tools, mowing the lawn, working on a car, etc. - skills that any kid needs to learn so they can apply in their teen and adult years.

I just re-read this whole thing & can tell it already reads as a very sexist, sterotyping post. I'll take that risk. Its not my intent, but I'll take what you give me. Moms - you're awesome. Dads - some of you need to get more engaged. Maybe you are at the soccer or baseball field or some other place spending time with your kids. But if not, consider yourself challenged to step up.

By the way, Lowe's has similar projects twice a month.



  1. This post actually reminds me of MY dad, who taught all of his kids (sons and daughters) how to use a hammer, screwdriver, drill, etc. from the time we were small. Whether we were building our home, or changing the oil in his car, he wanted us to learn (whether or not we wanted to learn at the time was irrelevant-haha). I think it's great moms are getting involved as well, though I agree that dads need to be more engaged in general and not leave "entertaining the kids" to mom. I will always remember the time I spent with my dad as a kid-it was something I always looked forward to. Lois

  2. Once again, you know the coolest stuff. Thanks for the links to the Home Depot and Lowes activities. This is not exactly my area of expertise, though; but its not my wife's either, so I definitely won't send her with him. And since carpentry isn't one of my strong suites, there's little risk of me taking over the project like some dads do in scouts. Even when I help my son, it looks like a 10-year old boy did it all on his own.

  3. My son and I definately need to get out and take advantage of this opportunity to rub elbows with some MILFs.