Life's Tool Box – A Guide for Parents and Educators

August 5, 2010

Well worn tools and Justin Bieber

Filed under: Tools for Life Posts,Uncategorized — by Life's Toolbox @ 6:37 pm
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[A-Display-of-Old-Tools.jpg]I opened my web browser yesterday to a breaking news story . . . Justin Bieber’s biography is due out in days.  Yes, he is remarkably successful and world-renowned.  But just how much life wisdom does someone of such a tender age have to offer?

Maybe I would have ignored the story, if it weren’t the umpteenth day in a row that Lindsay Lohan’s escapades monopolized the morning news shows.  What does it say about our world, and what does it say to our children, when we seem so obsessed with the young and famous????

So, I called my favorite toolsmith – my Dad, to ask . . . are shiny new tools better than old, well-worn ones?  Actually, I think I asked him if there was a specific tool that was better with age, that needed some “curing” , of sorts.  His response was quick and unequivocal.  “All tools are better if they’re old”.  The reason, however, was not as I suspected.  Older tools, he explained, were made to last.  They used quality materials and craftsmanship.  I could hear the fond reminiscence in his voice, for a time when old meant better, shiny and new were suspect – at least until their value was proven.

Today’s parents and educators have to work extra hard to help today’s children see beyond the fancy packaging of celebrities and objects.  We need to look for heroes of substance, who have the weight and heft of well-worn tools.  I remember fondly how powerful it was when Cal Ripken was honored . . . a baseball player made great not by his glitzy out of the park home runs, but by his unwavering dependability!  Just like a favorite old tool, Ripken was always there, playing in a record breaking  2,135 + consecutive games, despite injuries.    It is ironic that the record Ripkin broke belongs to another substantive hero, Lou Gehrig, a player who, diagnosed with the fatal disease ALS said in his retirement speech, “Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth”. 

Many of us are fortunate to have heroic, well-worn tools right at hand, as shining examples for our children.  Perhaps it is a courageous relative, who immigrated to make a better life.  Maybe there is a community leader or neighbor, who creates a food bank or shuttles donations to the local shelter.  It might even be a young teen who organizes blood drives and organ donor registries.  Those life stories can balance the media’s focus on glamour, excitement, and the latest 16 year old sensation.  After all, what parent or educator wants to build flash in the pan success stories.  We all want to shape the “tools” of the future, a generation with substance and longevity, who will serve well as the world’s tools . . . for years and years to come.


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