With age comes Wisdom
As I have gotten older, I take for granted many things I know and have learned over the years. Small items such as leaky faucet, a doorknob not working correctly. Many things of this nature I learned from my father, uncles, and mentors. Many of those men are no longer part of this world. Now, as I get older, I have become one of those men teaching other men and boys simple skills of everyday life.
Interestingly enough working with Cub scouts for a time, I realized how eager boys are to learn these skills. They can not seem to get enough knowledge; they absorb and eat up my words as though its last meal they may ever have.
Raw enthusiasm to learn is refreshing in this day and age. Get out of the house and back into nature. Teaching skills that will last a lifetime can ignite a passion for a career in the future. Kindle and encourage imagination and an adventurous spirit.
Not only the young men
Teaching these young men is when I noticed that their fathers, those who had one, would hang around while I taught their boys. These adult men thirst for knowledge often outstripped their sons. I started asking simple questions of the men. To see what there their knowledge base consisted of, what I found was lacking to almost nonexistent. I should not have been surprised, though I admit I was.
How have men made it this far in life, many into their 30s and 40s not knowing the basics? We live in a technology era where answers are at our fingertips. Google and YouTube will give you pictures & videos on just about anything you need to learn. When I mention this, people look at me as though I shined a bright light at them, more shock than a deer in the woods. The internet is not just for Facebook and Twitter; I think many people find this almost unbelievable.
It has become increasingly easy to call someone to come over and fix an issue you may have when your first response to a problem should be how can I fix this myself. Not even taking the time to research a problem or listing out the problem is to ask intelligent questions. Part of this is laziness; a more considerable amount is not having troubleshooting skills.
A problem with the western world is men are too self-involved in themselves to teach their sons, which leads to when they become adults not being able to teach their children. The start of this cycle is leading to a world of Idiocracy. With older generations passing on, we are losing great swaths of knowledge; the brain drain on society is becoming severe.
Life has become too easy for many. There is a delicate balance between being a kid and having fun with little responsibility and learning to be responsible for oneself. There are parts of the world where at a young age, 13-14-year-old boys are already in the rolls of men. And here in the west 20-30 somethings can’t even take care of themselves.
The good news is men are looking into the past and relearning skills—men who are working on teaching themselves to be troubleshooters. They learn that you do not always need to call someone to fix a small issue or do a simple project around the home. Men are learning skills that they can pass onto their sons.
Grandfathers, Fathers, Uncles, Brothers, Mentors don’t ever hold back, fight the decline into Idiocracy. When a child asks you a question, don’t blow them off or give a half-truth line. Find them the answer they seek; you may learn something yourself, show them how to do what they ask. Become the teacher the mentor they genuinely need. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Every man should always continue to learn. The one thing you should not get stuck in, though, is only learning. You need to take action and apply what you have learned.
Will you fail on the way to success? Yes.
You need to hear this one again or for the first time. Failures are learning lessons; you only failed if you do not get up and try again. Every time you get back up adds up to make you stronger, in body, mind, and spirit—something to never forget.
I continue to work against this age of Idiocracy, teaching those who are willing to learn. The simple basics of life make your life more comfortable or fix something yourself for a few dollars instead of paying hundreds for someone else to do a simple task—the simple satisfaction of being able to do it yourself.
You can boost your self-confidence to great heights. Accomplish things you only dreamed of doing. Start simple work your way up. You don’t have to do everything at once. As the problems unfold, work on what you can—one thing at a time.
Will you still need to call a specialist from time to time, of course. You have an opportunity to learn, if possible, ask if you can watch what the specialist is doing. Be respectful, stay out the way for the most part. Often conversation will occur, and many are more than willing to share their knowledge.
How not to forget.
One of the best ways to solidify what you have learned is to teach someone else. Especially if it’s not something you do regularly as a regular part of everyday life. Not only do you get more practice with the skill, the one you are teaching will ask questions forcing you to remember or learn something new.
Handyman around the house, learn about running a business. Been in a cubical all your life, get out and do some yard work. Never been punched in the face, learn a martial art. Spend all your time in front of the computer, creating code, step away, and create something outside the digital world.
Find interests outside the norm, try new things, and often opposite to what you do daily. They may start off being difficult; however, over time, practice, then teaching others, they will become second nature to you, like riding a bike, once you learn you never forget.
A simple story
One Christmas, a present that I gave my then 10-year-old son was a Daisy wrist rocket with arm support. He already has a BB gun, Bow and Arrow set, we have upgraded them over the years. He is a good shot with both. He knows what a sight picture is. How to control his breathing, and use proper form with a long gun and bow.
Now here comes the slingshot, he has never used one before. He has only seen them at the store or others using them on YouTube. Few days after Christmas, it warms up enough to go out and give it a try.
To keep things simple and less clean up, we used dog food for our ammo and set up some monster cans (because you must learn to hunt monsters) he took a couple of shots that came nowhere close to the cans.
I could see frustration starting to set in. I usually would interject at this point to give pointers. This time it was different, I wanted to know if my son could work things out for himself and ask the right questions without giving up.
A couple of more shots and he puts his hands down took a deep breath, turns to me, and asks, “How do I hit the can because I want to.” My heart did a little flip on the inside; his mind is working he isn’t giving up, he is looking for council.
I gave him one-word “INTUITION” he was puzzled by this for just a moment, and then asked what does that mean and how do I use it (ahh he is growing up) my simple definition for him “you just know, you have the skill and knowledge, visualize the target and hit it.” Within three more shots, he hit the can, couple more shots he struck it twice in a row, now excited, hitting the can reliably, I watched, and I could tell when he was going to hit the can or miss by the look on his face.
The next question came out, “Can we use this for hunting?” he is thinking again. We had a pleasant casual conversation about while he continued to shoot, how yes with the right ammo he could hunt small game like rabbits and squirrels mainly. However, if you wanted to pursue larger game animals, you would need a much more powerful slingshot.
I reinforced hunting concepts of we hunt for food, not sport. When killing an animal to end its suffering or protect oneself from feral animals are special occasions outside the norm and should be considered carefully. I think these concepts are always useful to teach and reinforce. You need to teach the youth of today to respect nature.
We now had the fun of shooting the slingshot well in hand, concepts about hitting your target. Uses for a slingshot, once again we go over the rules of weapons, only shoot at a designated target, be mindful of what is behind your target. Don’t harm anyone or any animal you don’t intend to kill for defense or food—respect other people’s property. Reinforce simple common sense items of knowledge.
He is growing up; his mind is starting to grasp more complex thoughts and ideas. Once I had to explain everything to him, now he uses knowledge to conquer life; guidance when needed. The reinforcement of concepts continues. He makes me proud, and I know if I don’t have the answer that he is seeking, I can find it for him. Being a single father is challenging, its moments like these though makes it worth it.
Snippet of time
The above story is only a snippet from the daily interactions with my son. Fathers reading this, you should be able to quickly bring up your conversations with your sons of this nature. To young father or future fathers, start making notes of things to teach your son/s.
Learn many skills that you can pass on, a bit of being a jack of all trades, and a master of only one is an excellent place to be. Teaching your son, nephew, grandson, their friends, other fathers, other men.
Even as I teach others what I know, I still work to learn more each day. May you do the same.
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