Tuesday, 13 April 2010

We are being invaded by three more teenagers

today. They are coming to learn some basic woodwork skills. They also have to be fed. Their grandfather is helping in the shed. Their grandmother is helping to feed them.
We have not yet met these teens although we have heard a good deal about them. They lost their father to illness almost two years ago - just at the ages where they were most vulnerable. Their grandparents, good friends of my father, have been highly supportive of them. My father and their grandfather both believe that all children should be able to use some tools so today will be about making something that will show them how to use the basics. If they enjoy themselves and my father can find the energy they will no doubt be back.
Ms Whirlwind is spending days here this week. She is quite at home here and is looking forward to feeling a little superior even though she is younger. She can use a hammer and nails and glue and has used the safer power tools under my father's watchful gaze. She knows all about wearing goggles and keeping your hands behind the tools you are working with. For a child she is very safety conscious - but my father still watches constantly. I do the same in the kitchen.
Yesterday we made a cheesecake to feed the others today. We doubled the quantity as the recipe says 'serves 4-6' and there are 8 people to feed. I made her to do the arithmetic. She set up the mixer and added the ingredients in the correct order. Although I supervised she did almost everything herself.
We also made the evening meal for her and her father with the ingredients she brought from home. It was a dish my grandmother had taught me to make.
And I suddenly, ridiculously, found myself feeling 'homesick' for my grandparents house, their inconvenient kitchen, my grandmother's quiet explanations of why and how to do something and my grandfather's abrupt advice to take care and his gruff refusal to teach me to gut fish because, "it's not women's work".
I still cannot fillet a fish but I can do any number of other things because they taught me. I want Ms Whirlwind and the teens to be able to do the same - if they want to.


Sheep Rustler said...

My now 16 year old daughter has always wanted to use tools and her dad taught her from an early age. She has long referred to herself as a girl with a power drill. My 13 year old son knows his way round a kitchen quite handily. I think these practical skills are so important and it is wonderful that you and your dad are imparting them to kids :)

catdownunder said...

You are so right about practical skills. My brother can cook and clean and has in the past made maternity dresses and curtains! He is still 'into' motorbikes and woodwork as well. I noticed the female learner driver around the corner (17) being taught how to change the wheel on the car yesterday - what a good thing!