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“Do It Yourself” Mentality, Is It Slipping Away?

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This is something that kinda bugs me sometimes.  I have something break down at home, I go buy the parts, and I fix it.  Someone will say, “why even mess with it, just call someone to fix it.”  Why?  Because there is something special about being able to “do it yourself.”  It seems to me this is slipping away and at this rate, in 50 years you’re average person won’t be able to change a flat tire.

Actually I can tell you there’s already been a few times where I’ve helped grown, able-bodied, men change a tire.  Usually when they had been waiting for their roadside assistance that never showed up, or got lost.

My grandparent’s generation really had it all figured out.  There wasn’t anything that they couldn’t do.  Maybe it was because they grew up dirt poor in the great depression.  They didn’t have the money to hire out a plumber, etc.  Interesting now that during the recent “great recession” the same situation has come up.  I’ve been lucky enough to have my Grandpa John pass on a lot of his knowledge to me, and give me the confidence to try something new.  I can’t tell you how many times I saved our budget (and next meal) by fixing what would be a major expense with just a little extra time and effort on my part during some tough financial times.

Being able to do things yourself brings a sense of security.  Ever have something break and feel completely helpless? Your toilet breaks, and you have to wait for a plumber so you can use it again…  The garage door won’t open… and you can’t get your car out, your car breaks down and you have no idea if the mechanic is lying to you…  Yep, you feel totally helpless.

Some people just don’t know how to fix things, right?  Well here’s the best news:  There has never been a time in humanity where there is more information available than right now.  You can find helpful tips on doing everything on the internet.

And the most important thing my Grandpa Roy used to always say:  “Don’t be afraid of making a mistake, just do it.”  There’s always a risk of making a problem worse, but if you’re afraid and don’t try you’ll never learn.

Last night I was installing a propane heater in my garage.  I kept my 4 year old boy nearby (never to young to learn!).  I taught him a few small things, but hopefully he will at least remember Dad working in the garage, wrenching on tools, and doing it himself.  Let’s hope it’s something that sticks with him as he grows up.

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