One Hundred Sixty Five: Hammer Time

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward

Saturday, June 14th

Might I add to the quote above, “The good carpenter does not hammer her own fingers.”

The local hardware stores have started holding kids craft workshops, so I signed my two sprouts and I up to put together a couple little mini-foosball sets. The kits are straight-forward with gluing and hammering, but it is a challenge to complete the project in a feel-good way with two kids in tow.

I was going through the steps: telling the kids about the project, explaining why we glue the items before we nail them together, demonstrating proper technique, and then…WHOA! There I am on the precipice trying to inspire my kids to get into this project, but I’ve assembled the goalposts upside down and need to pull the pieces apart and re-hammer them. And that would be my finger I whacked instead of the tiny little nail. Did I mention that inspiration is not typically found with bruised fingers and a mouth full of unspoken expletives?

Here is where I start breaking things down in my mind. This hardware store is the local feel-good store with old-fashioned service, but their kit was a chintzy little ‘Made in China’ kit with broken pieces. I had recently taken the kids to a big box store kid workshop, and the kits were easier to follow and there was a staff member helping the kids out….as in, this kind man encouraged my son to try hammering (the nail or his finger) while I assisted my daughter. He knew their names and was giving them high-fives and congratulating them on their job well done. It inspired me, and I bet they felt pretty good about it too. I can’t always keep up with every ethical hankering I want to, like supporting small businesses over big corporations but when it comes down to a person taking the time to make my children’s experience great, it will win every time.

Do you ever fail miserably while trying to entertain or inspire others?


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