Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
–Exodus 20:12, ESV
In Fathers, teach your sons Adam Piggott describes fond memories learning from his father, and stresses the importance of fathers teaching their sons masculine practical skills:
Boys love it when their dads teach them. The earliest memory that I have is from when I was about 4 years old. We lived in a cool old house in Bayswater, Perth, and out the back was a ramshackle yard, perfect for little kids to have adventures. My father was remodeling the house and there was a large pile of scrap lumber and other assorted cast-offs and bits and pieces. I turned it into my own scrap lumber yard, complete with a small counter where I could “sell” my goods to all of my customers, (my dad).
In my little yard I would categorize and set into order all my precious inventory. I remember in particular my large box of nails, each twisted lump of metal painstakingly removed from a length of 4 x 2 with my own small tool kit, my most precious possession.
So to all those fathers out there of boys and teenagers, make sure that you teach your sons. Show them how to fix a leaky tap, or change out an electrical fuse, or do basic maintenance on the family car. Not only are these skills critical for any man, but it is an excellent way to mold the boy into the solid man that hopefully one day he can become. While teaching him some solid practical skills there can also be a seemingly casual discussion where certain red pill knowledge is imparted as well.
I too have fond memories first of being around my father in a masculine space, and later him teaching me how to build and fix things. When I was around 7 I rode with my father as he drove out to stranded motorists that called him for help. I was in little boy heaven, riding to the rescue with my dad in his small old pickup that he had modified with a V8 and glasspacks. I could hear him draw out a shift from a mile away. Back at his shop his mechanics would sometimes let me pull the trigger on the pneumatic impact wrench to take off lug nuts. Aside from a small block V8 with glasspacks, I can’t imagine a more glorious sound. One time he even let my sister and me “ride” on the hydraulic lift they used to raise up the customer’s cars.
By the time I was in my early teens my father had traded his car repair business for something else, but he still worked on our own cars and helped out friends. I watched and sometimes helped my father pull out entire engines and transmissions to have them rebuilt before putting them back. I also watched him take apart carburetors to repair them and pull off valve covers to replace broken pushrods, etc. Those aren’t jobs I have tackled on my own since, nor am I likely to do so in the future. But I’ve been surprised at how many smaller/easier jobs I’ve been able to do on my own*, and when I needed to have a clutch replaced or a transmission rebuilt, understanding the job helped me discuss the job with a mechanic.
Looking back at it decades later, it is obvious to me now that what my father really taught me was a combination of attitude and how to use tools. Even living over a thousand miles apart, his is the voice in my head reminding me “if it doesn’t come apart (or go back together) easy, don’t just push/pull harder, figure out why“. If I understand why and more force really is needed, the voice says “get a bigger hammer” (and a block of wood), or “get a longer wrench”. A few month’s back I bought a 24 inch breaker bar, and while it only cost me around $20 it was immediately a prized possession.
There is something else my father imparted in the process, and that is a sense of who I am. He taught me that I come from men who help others and know how to solve problems when they come up. That is after all why tools like my new breaker bar ultimately have the meaning they do to me. These are the kind of tools that he used and (even in his 70s) still uses.
My son is still young, but anything traditionally masculine I do is absolutely fascinating to him. In the summer I helped a neighbor do the brakes on his work truck. He didn’t need my help (I hadn’t worked on brakes for decades) but my driveway is more level so he brought it over and we did the job here. Plus, it is always more enjoyable working on something with a buddy around. I placed a small chair safely out of the way for my son to sit in and watch. The main thing I wanted to teach him had nothing do with brakes, but how to safely raise a vehicle to work on it. My dad taught me that if you are using anything less than a floor jack something has already gone wrong. And always block the wheels and use jack stands in addition to the jack. My son never tired of watching us as we worked our way around all four wheels, and my neighbor even let him loosen the lug nuts with his electric impact wrench.
I don’t think my son will ever forget pulling the trigger on the impact wrench, but his fascination persists even when what I’m doing or teaching him is mundane. When I swapped out our smoke detectors a while back smoke detectors were all he would talk about for weeks. When he’s a bit more mature I’ll be able to take him shooting, hunting, and fishing. I’m not sure which of us looks forward to that with greater anticipation.
Feminism is founded in envy of men, and the sense of identity that men get from our fathers is high up on the list of things feminists covet. Sadly we’ve created a family system designed to separate children from their fathers, and our Christian leaders have responded by doing everything they can to morally justify this as well as further break this bond. But what feminists and conservative Christians won’t ever be able to do is remove the importance of fathers. They can break families apart, but they can’t erase the importance of fathers. Moreover, they can’t prevent us from being thankful for our fathers, and thankful for the other men who have taught us as fathers do.
*Haynes and Chilton manuals are good, but youtube is great.