Who Is Going To Teach Woodworking To Our Young People? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 66 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Default Who Is Going To Teach Woodworking To Our Young People?



Woodworking teaches children so much more than most realize. For my youngest son who hated math, he suddenly found an interest in understanding more math when, as a child, he wanted to build an amazing treehouse and needed to understand a measuring tape. The confidence he gained during that project, as he learned to overcome challenges, was amazing.

With so many schools closing woodshop classes, I can help but wonder, who will bring the love of woodworking to our children?

Have you mentored a child to help them learn woodworking?

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post #2 of 66 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 10:23 AM
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The problem is not who is going to teach it, but who is going to learn it. Unless they make a phone app most of the kids today will not.
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post #3 of 66 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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The problem is not who is going to teach it, but who is going to learn it. Unless they make a phone app most of the kids today will not.
I think maybe it depends on how young we start with them. My grandson (4 years old) spent hours watching my son build a small fence and gate a few weeks back. He wanted to be part of every step along the way and now is asking for a toy workbench, etc.

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post #4 of 66 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 10:33 AM
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That's a great question, Cricket, and I wish I had an answer. Back when I was in elementary school (1950s) woodworking was one of our classroom activities which included painting and working with clay. Each classroom had a little rolling cart that had lots of pine boards, saws, hammers, nails etc. For one project, probably in the 5th or 6th grade, we made sailboats that required us to hollow out the pine hull with gouges and shape the hull with a drawknife. Later we took a field trip to a local park lake to compete in a boat racing regatta against boats made by students in other schools. (I went home with a 3rd place ribbon ... woo hoo!)

I'm sure that in today's world all those sharp and "dangerous" tools are outlawed in schools and probably within a thousand feet of the campus. I fear we are not only losing the ability to teach young people how to do woodworking but also that all of the creative arts are being pushed aside. I think the new digital world means that kids never get their hands dirty. What a loss.

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post #5 of 66 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 10:54 AM
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In agreeing with Oliver I have to add that woodworking and many other creative arts are being pushed aside today. More will come of that in the future. Not only are the skills being lost but so to the ability to think and be creative. When I was growing up almost every male could do most home repairs and moderate carpenter work. Today only a much smaller percent can or would even think of trying to do most things. Another of the sad facts of our evolving society.

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post #6 of 66 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 11:10 AM
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I failed, even with my own kid! When he was very young, he would hang out in the shop and I'd encourage him to help me. He developed some basic skills and was able to build the last couple of pinewood derby cars, and he did most of the work on his Eagle Scout project. But the love of it just never "took" with him. He's in graduate school now, and we recently had a conversation about why he never took an interest in the things that interested me. He said he never felt "clever" about the woodworking and such, so he went where he could excel. I guess it worked out for him, he turned down an opportunity to go to med school because he liked chemistry better.

“We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again and that is well but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.” - Mark Twain
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post #7 of 66 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 11:50 AM
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I am doing as much as I can.....

We've had 20+ girl scouts over working on their woodworking badge, and everyone seemed to really enjoy the program. The problem is keeping that fire fueled once they go home. There are a lot of dads out there who have no experience to share with them, so they don't get to play at home.

Both of my daughters have a good time helping me on projects, but one is definitely more interested in it than the other. I have definitely succeed in training them on home maintenance, maybe that will inspire them to tackle DIY projects in the future.

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post #8 of 66 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 11:50 AM
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I failed, even with my own kid! When he was very young, he would hang out in the shop and I'd encourage him to help me. He developed some basic skills and was able to build the last couple of pinewood derby cars, and he did most of the work on his Eagle Scout project. But the love of it just never "took" with him. He's in graduate school now, and we recently had a conversation about why he never took an interest in the things that interested me. He said he never felt "clever" about the woodworking and such, so he went where he could excel. I guess it worked out for him, he turned down an opportunity to go to med school because he liked chemistry better.
He's the kind of kid who gets his career going well, and then starts to dabble with repairs just to do something physical, and becomes hooked, buys tools, remembers and associates using them with good times with dad. Isn't that the story for many of use here?
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post #9 of 66 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 11:59 AM
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In agreeing with Oliver I have to add that woodworking and many other creative arts are being pushed aside today. More will come of that in the future. Not only are the skills being lost but so to the ability to think and be creative. When I was growing up almost every male could do most home repairs and moderate carpenter work. Today only a much smaller percent can or would even think of trying to do most things. Another of the sad facts of our evolving society.
I've recently found a number of Japanese TV documentaries about society in that crowded country. When you have 6-7 billion human beings, there is a tendency for people to turn inward for a little peace and quiet in the midst of a crowd, so many of Japan's young people enjoy ephemeral distractions; images on a small screen in particular. Wood and woodworking takes a little space, but if your home is 400 sqft, there's no space available for hobbies, so you go out to bars to be with other people, lose yourself in your smart phone or tablet. Those devices and the games and apps on them fit the definition of addicting perfectly. Operant conditioning to the max. Addiction? Try taking your kid's smart phone away!

Woodworking is definitely NOT ephemeral. Just look around the home and shop of an active woodworker if you want proof of that assertion.
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post #10 of 66 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 12:29 PM
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If I may.

I'm 38 y/o and while I may not be the "young generation" most are thinking about when reading this thread I do feel I can expand a bit giving my background.

While shop was taught in my middle school there was only one class in my high school, the rest of the time the equipment sat unused. This was before cell phone and the Internet, computers were available but still rare for a home unit. Even at that time things were shifting and for most it didn't seam as relevant as it once was. Probably similar to jigs these days, you can make any jig yourself but how many of us buy them?

My father was very crafty but I was still pretty young when I last saw him and he passed away when I was in high school, I'll never get a chance to learn from him.

I went through and really still am going through a big life chance within the last few years.

I'm now at a point where I wish I took shop and learned what I'm struggling to learn now. But it's not easy. Tools are expensive and space isn't easy to come by.

How will it or can it be saved? The very thing that helped kill it. The Internet. These days when we are interested in a topic its easily found online, research while inconsistent at times is very obtainable.

If it weren't for the Internet I'm not sure how possible it would be for me to learn from people like you. Members of this forum are spread around the world I can learn a technique form someone I would never had a chance to before the Internet. Sure we could read a book and there are many good books out there on woodworking but for many of use watching a video to see the technique is far more valuable then reading a text in a book.

The number of people that will practice woodworking is and will shrink but it won't be lost. Technology consumes our culture but for many there is a need to escape the trap and hobbies are a way to express ourselves, woodworking being one of them.

Well I've rambled.... Sorry, back to work I go.
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