A Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. I just wanted to share a pretty cool personal moment:

Several projects around my own house have gone by the wayside. Since quitting my job, I’ve had to focus on my business. I planned to keep my weekend office work to a minimum so I could tackle some projects on Saturday and relax on Sunday.

Yesterday (Saturday), I was replacing the backdoor that leads to our patio area. It’s the type of project I’ve completed countless times before, on job sites and my own homes. I’ve always loved hanging new doors in old frames and bucks. It’s my personal form of instant gratification.

I was nearing halfway through the project when it dawned on me to ask my eight-year-old to help me. I want him to learn new skills, but how often do I take the time to show him? I too often assume he’d rather play video games than join me in my shop.

To my surprise, he came running. He was more than willing to help. He wore a pair of Nikes, not a pair of Thorogoods. His shirt said Underarmour, not Carhartt. His basketball shorts couldn’t hold up a set of nail bags, no matter how tight he’d pull the belt.

But he showed up, and he wanted to work. And that’s not even the cool part.

He knew what we were doing. I forgot that he helped me hang the front door two years ago. He didn’t. He knew I’d line up the hinges and he’d drop the pin. He knew it was important to watch his fingers, and he knew how to speak to me in a way that I could understand what he meant. Even blindly, from the other side of a solid fir door.

As is often the case, the door didn’t fit first try. We took it down and back to my shop for some “tailoring,” if you will. While we were in the shop, we talked about power tools and safety, how to save time on a job, and the trades.

We even talked about my solid brass straight-edge—given to me by the best carpenter I ever knew, weeks before he passed away.

We hung the door, installed the hardware, and shut the door to that familiar yet satisfying thud. When I made my second trip back to the house to collect the rest of my tools, the boy was sweeping the floor. He was doing an amusingly bad job, but I hadn’t asked to do it. He did it on his own.

I’m not saying my son’s a finish work prodigy. I’m not saying I’m the world’s best dad. But tackling that project together on Father’s Day weekend, when I hadn’t even planned it, was awesome.

We refer to children as sponges, and it’s usually so we remember to watch our mouths. I know mine have soaked up some nasty language and annoying habits. Hell, a conversation with my nine-year-old daughter is like my personality recorded and played back on a loop. But how amazing is it that we can hand down skills so easily, as well?

No advice here, guys (and ladies). Just a story and me wishing all the fathers on job sites, in garage shops, overseas, hospitals, police and fire stations, home offices, and wherever else you might be a Happy Father’s Day.

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