Saturday, January 12, 2013

Driving Nails

I can think of many things my dad taught me but some of the simplest things were the best and most long lasting.  In particular I recall how we always had Folgers Coffee cans in the barn (Quonset which was a round barn laying down) filled with nails.  Backing up a moment, that Quonset was shaped  like a green house but open on the side.  I hope that is a little help.  Anyway, when we tore down a building or found some boards with nails in them we would pull them and save for a later time in those Folgers cans.  Any time I was not busy or bored dad would send me to the barn to sort nails, bolts, screws etc.  into those Folgers Coffee cans.  But the best part I liked about all of this was that dad allowed me to utilize those resources in making a toy or creating something.

One of my great accomplishments which took me years to build and provided years of enjoyment was a tree house I built right out the window to my room where I slept.  There was an elm tree which was more than six feet in diameter and shaded the back half of the house.  The first thing I did was take some boards about 18 inches long and nail them to the tree like a step ladder.  As I built my way up the tree where the main trunk split into several very large limbs I reached the area where I would build my house.  It was at least eight feet off the ground and it was there that I built a floor using plywood and other boards.  It was great in that I could lay there and take a nap or have some friends over and not be discovered but close enough to the house so food and beverage was close by.  The sides to the tree house were short and there was never a roof but it lasted for years.

A can of nails and screws (never did I have an electric drill or electric driver) offered a plethora of creative opportunity (don't you love it when I use those fancy words?).  I made an airplane many times which was adorned with lots of bling (bling means there were decorations and designs utilizing nail and screw heads kinda like buttons on a coat).  I made cars and trucks and scooters that I could run on the sidewalk.  It was fantastic and the cost was virtually zero.

Now that I think about it entertainment was not invoked by a video game or a box of toys overflowing so much that it was frustrating to decide which one to play with or the frustration of finding all the parts in a big box.  In fact playing was stress free for the most part because I did not need a HELP button or a list of instructions.  I needed just a few elements to be entertained:

  • Freedom to get into the nails and boards and screws and hammers 
  • Freedom to create
  • Freedom to roam around the property
  • No rules as long as I did not hurt anyone except myself, yes I did hurt myself sometimes and I will give you a few examples like when I cut my hand and needed some stitches or when I smashed my finger numerous times with a hammer
  • Freedom to think outside the box
  • No government labels to warn me, tax me or stop me:  Freedom
Well I had better go but one last thing I would say, "don't get your underwear in a wad that your children don't have a new xbox and they get made at you".

So what do you learn in the Osage?
  • Freedom is more important than money or toys
  • Children will create fun, just allow them to create
  • Sometimes we over structure our education and diminish children's freedom to think
Thanks for your time,

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