Showing posts with label blue-collar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blue-collar. Show all posts

Monday, January 30, 2017

Hard Work and Handiwork: Growing Up Blue-collar

I come from a solid stock of blue-collar workers. Clear back to my great-great grandfather and his father who labored as blacksmiths. According to a family story, my great-great-great grandfather Abbott, from Dundee, Scotland, shod Queen Victoria's horses.

I've heard some concern from family and friends that young people are not being taught to work with their hands; they're lacking the advantage of learning a trade or a skill. Growing up, we planted and tended a garden, my dad, a welder by trade, fixed all of our cars and any other machinery around our home as did my brothers. My mom and grandma canned all kinds of veggies and fruit. My sister and I both learned to sew, cook, and clean. I love to sew. The cooking and cleaning, not so much, but I still know how when I need to.

My granddad on  my mom's side farmed, built furniture, and worked as a barber. Grandma cooked for farmhands and later worked at the hospital cafeteria. Dad's father farmed. My brothers both build and refinish furniture and they've done factory work. My sister operated a telephone switchboard. Years later she drove an escort truck across the country with her husband. My uncles owned carpentry businesses. In other words we've always worked hard and with our hands.

My brother, Ron, and I had the opportunity to attend college and graduate with degrees. Even with my B.S. in Digital Communication I still prefer hands-on work. My degree led me to a staff position at the local college. As the Library's Technical Services Manager, I'm quite content to roll in the background as a support person.

I hope anyone who has an influence on children that happens to be reading my ramblings, takes the time to teach their kids everyday skills. If you know how to fix a car or appliances, teach a young person. If you sew or do a craft, share that with a child. If you garden or farm, include your children or grandchildren. I'd hate to see the art of hard work and handiwork disappear.

If you're like me, as you teach your children, you'll learn from them at the same time. That's the blessing of passing it on.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.