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Swinging Screwdrivers and Drilling Nails

DIY is my least favourite acronym. No, let’s not even sugar coat it by putting a positive spin on it in calling it my “least favourite”. The truth is that I flat out hate DIY - or doing it yourself.

How do furniture stores not only survive, but thrive on selling disassembled kits for you to put together at home?!? Who are these people buying this? Can you imagine if the food industry adopted this? What if the Keg or Earls rolls out a DIY menu. That bowl of soup is still going to cost you $15, that steak will still cost $40 but now you need to go back into the kitchen and make it yourself. There will be no trained Chefs back there to help you, but don’t worry, you’ll have a diagram to follow.

You guys are probably laughing at the thought of that, but you still don’t see anything wrong with renting a small moving van for your next trip to IKEA.

I’m not a handyman by any stretch of the imagination. If something breaks, I buy a new one or I call a repair guy. It’s just that simple.

Sure the thought of repair briefly crosses my mind, because I know how disappointed my father would be if he were still around and saw how none of his attempts or lessons had paid off; but that thought only lasts for as long as I’m waiting on the phone for the repair man to answer.

New furniture is no different. I recently had to assemble a kids table and four kids chairs to be used for our daily therapy sessions. I was not too excited when it arrived, and realized that it was yet another DIY project.

To make matters worse, Liam still hasn’t figured out how incompetent I really am; and he gets super excited to build things or fix things with me. So, we tackled this project together.

He is obsessed with instruction manuals, so he will grab that first and pour over it until he understands what needs to happen. Let me remind you that he is FOUR! Oh, and I must add that he doesn’t hesitate to tell me if I’m doing something wrong.

I’m not really sure who was helping who on this project, but we got the job done and that’s all that matters.

But what about the next project? How is he going to learn more and advance, if I’m still trying to figure out how to use an Allen wrench?

I made some realizations that day. First of all, Liam was oblivious to the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing, because all he cared about was that he was getting to spend quality time with me. We laughed when I started to do something wrong and he had to correct me. He would shake his head and say, “Ohhh Daddy!” disapprovingly. But he didn’t care, because we were doing something together. It was quality time. I was speaking his love language.

Secondly, I realized that Liam will have to learn how to build things from someone else, and that’s OK! I realized in that moment that I can never teach him everything he needs to know in life - especially not how to build things. No parent can teach their child EVERYTHING. We do our best with the knowledge and resources we have, and have to trust that others in their life will fill in the gaps.

This doesn’t mean we fail as parents, and I think we need to ease up on the pressure we inflict on ourselves to be our kids’ everything. Case in point: why do we send our kids to school? Because we are not capable or qualified to teach our kids all the different topics and subjects that they need to know. Sure, we should be modeling it and helping them the best we can, but we don’t need to be the authority on the matter.

It’s no secret that I’m not qualified in the least to be teaching my kids handyman skills. In this case maybe an Uncle or Grandpa will have to teach Liam how to swing a screwdriver and drill a nail into the wall. Because I know that if I try, the results will be disastrous!


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