Why Tools are Important and Other Things My Father Taught Me


Fathers sometimes get the short end of the stick. There is always a lot of fanfare around motherhood and Mother’s Day (as there should be). After all, like many of us, I would be totally lost without my mother.

But fathers matter equally as much; they just usually keep a lower profile. How often do we hear “she was like a mama bear” or how often do people on television shout out “Hi Mom”? Well, what about Dad?

Mothers are wonderful. They comfort us after bad dreams, take care of us when we’re sick, and soothe our broken hearts when people hurt our feelings. But what about knowing how to change a tire, or what kind of screwdriver to use, or how to install a car radio? I learned all these things from my father. I didn’t want to be one of those women who always had to hire someone to install a new porch light, or spackle and paint a room. And my father made sure I wasn’t one of those either. Besides, as well as being handy he is also frugal, and his philosophy is “why hire someone if you can do it yourself?” Even though as a kid I didn’t get a kick out of holding the flashlight or handing him tools while he fixed something, I was forced to learn things that my mother did not have the time or inclination to teach me. And I learned a lot about tools, more than I probably ever wanted to know.

Years later, when I rented my first apartment and then bought my own house, I worked right alongside the males in the family doing what had to be done. Men and women alike were always somewhat amazed at the things I could fix, or how I could solve a myriad of household problems. I even knew my way around a car and could often diagnose what the trouble was. Granted, I couldn’t always fix it, but I usually knew what was wrong.

My father and I didn’t always agree on things while I was growing up, which is natural. However, he taught me things that I will never forget and often need to know. I’m lucky to still have my father, even after some health scares over the last few months, and for that I am very thankful. I have more things to learn from him yet, and maybe he can learn some things from me too.

Happy Father’s Day Dad, from your handy and “not afraid to get her hands dirty” daughter. Thank you for all you have taught me.

Written for The Country Register of the U.S. and Canada

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