Bishop: Mechanical genius or home wrecking klutz?
16th February, 2006
As parents, we believe that when our children are young, they look up to us; they rely on us; they believe that we are the source of all knowledge and wisdom. Come on now, face it, you felt the same way and you shared that secret pride of being all-knowing, all-wise to your kids. Hey, the people at work knew you weren't all that great, but what the hell, their kids felt the same way about them, right? Wrong!
I recently learned the fallacy of a belief I've held for over 40 years. You see, I was under the impression that when I went to do some simple rewiring in the house, the kids were watching in fascination, learning what a wonderful electrician Dad was. And when I said that I was "going to work on the car," that their gathering around meant they wanted to learn from the master mechanic. Whether it was plumbing, wiring, automotive, or carpentry-related, there was always a youthful admirer.
5Recently, however, the truth has come out. The children were not there to learn about useful trades; they were there to spy. That's right, their Mother had coerced one or more of them to be ready to yell when - not if, but when - Dad managed to screw up whatever job he was attempting to do. My fragile ego has suffered irreparable damage from this revelation. However, it is my sworn duty to pass this information along to unsuspecting young fathers who still believe that their home repair talents are beyond dispute or that their children are in awe of their efforts to mend minor problems.
Here's the whole story behind childhood attachment. When things got completely out of hand...this might involve Dad's hair starting to smoke when he mistakenly crossed wires or the use of unusual words when his thumb came in contact with a hammer that had been meant to be driving a nail, the kids were to scream at the top of their lungs, "Mommm," and Mother would call the appropriate trades person to come and 'fix' what was being destroyed by her errant husband. Simultaneously, and please don't ask how they can do the two things together, the wife is at her hubby's side, comforting him about whatever pain he happens to be in at the time. This is a bit tough to hear, all you 'would-be-home-repair-mavens' out there, but I speak from first-hand knowledge.