The other day my wife mentioned how she wanted to change the look of the front of our home. We’ve always had stones lining the front of our house from our driveway to the wall. Nothing fancy really- take a look:
When we first moved in, there was a couple of rotting flower boxes. We quickly removed those along with a half dead “Prickly Pete” bush that hid our gas meter by the carport. We’ve tried livening it up by putting a bench and an old wagon in front. But it just didn’t look good. So my wife asked if I would make a new deck. I jumped at the chance. This will be my third deck build. I enjoy them.
I wanted to get an early start on this project, but didn’t leave the house until after 10am. The Home Depot stung me for about $600 in pressure treated lumber. Even though the deck area is five feet wide- it is 36’ long. I also opted to give it a bit of height to add a step and level it off. I returned home with 72 deck boards- which irritated one customer because I took all the good ones- I got to work on my next project around lunchtime.
I was hoping to be posting about a “One Day Build” but starting at noon makes for a tough challenge. Instead I opted to have our fourteen year old son help me. That way I could teach him how to use power tools, as well as the tricks to making a good sturdy deck. Safety was the first thing I taught him. Safety glasses, taking your time and common sense were expressed. As much as he groaned at first, he got into the workload pretty quick. A few errors were made, but nothing tragic.
We’ve gotten about half way through this project before calling it a day. Building the frame and leveling it off was the toughest part and took quite a while. My son wanted to keep going after dinner, but I explained to him that it was disrespectful to the neighbors to be noisy as dusk fell. He has decided that we will be waking up at 7am and be back at it by 8am. He wants to be done by lunch. I’m happy about his enthusiasm. He’s also proud of his workmanship.
Little does he know that I also have a Porch Swing project in mind for us… That would finish the new deck off quite nicely.
I’m a firm believer in educating oneself. That’s why I am constantly challenging my mind and abilities. I also do my best to share my knowledge with others. Mostly because I don’t want to live in a world of stupid people.
Not only do I share my knowledge, but I try and accept my flaws in order to learn from them. If I can keep an open mind and prevent my biases from blocking the truth, I think I will benefit from nearly everyone I meet.
Teaching my children to behave like this is my biggest goal. I want them each to be successful in whatever they choose to do. In order to do this, I have had to learn about piano, cheerleading, and speed skating over the years. There are plenty of other things that I have learned over the years and been able to share with my children as well. Such as photography and writing- stuff I learned back in high school.
This past weekend it dawned on me that I have achieved my goal as a parent.
We were playing Settlers of Catan as a family and our middle child won. It wasn’t one of those “Let her win” moments either. She legitimately kicked everyone’s butt. My favorite part of the experience was that she was a gracious winner. No yelling “IN YO’ FACE!” And prancing around gloating. She won, we congratulated her, we cleaned up.
After our dinner, my daughters and I were practice shooting with the bow and arrow set we picked up last year. This time, my oldest daughter proved to be better than the rest of us. We had set up a bale of hay and some lawn flamingos as targets. Our oldest daughter was hitting her target almost every time. One flamingo was obliterated into nothing more than some plastic shards.
In both instances, I had taught them the basic skills to achieve their goals. With the tabletop game I had explained the rules previously and offer some tactics to help them out. With the archery I explained the dynamics of how to hold the bow, how an arrow flies, and how to aim.
Now I know I said at the beginning that I’ve achieved my goal as a parent. Mostly this is true. I always want to see my children succeed. I pass on my knowledge or help them in gaining the knowledge required. For example, all three of my kids are amazing at piano. They have gone on to do RCM exams and pass with honors. My oldest has even written a few compositions this past year for Grade 8. I can play the beginning of “Jingle Bells” with my right hand.
I have much more to offer my children. At some point, they will start to teach me.