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My thoughts on editors column

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  • My thoughts on editors column

    The editorial in the spring 07 issue of SSWC is something not many ever think about. Thank you Shannon for taking the time to put that in print. So many kids nowadays are getting to the point where if it cant be done by pushing a button, or by using the cut/paste prompts, they arent interested in it.Along with the modern technology, and all of the great new opportunities it brings into everyones lives, it does make individual reasoning and creativity a thing of the past for so many. I too grew up without much in the way of modern technology, and although I still remember the used Atari game system we recieved for Christmas, I have much more, better memories of building a fort, or making a makeshift go cart out of a used up lawnmower and some scrap pieces of rope.If technology was where it is today, I wonder if that would still be the case.
    I live in a pretty rural area,and work with the 4H group a lot. I can tell in 2 minutes with my group which kids have that sense of reasoning and creativity redily accessable, and which kids will need much more attention to bring that creativity out.With woodworking , its hard to get the kids to realize some of the simple things like precise measurements, and why things are constructed how they are, because so many are more interested in whats going on on their myspace thingy, or whatnot.I wish more people would spend a fraction of their time with a kid,giving them the chance to be creative, and encouraging them to do things with their hands, and actually think creative.Schools do cut a lot of the shop type classes because of the technology aspects, as well as insurance reasons, and lack of interest from the students themselfs.This is where creativity at home should come from. Not once the child is a teen, and already more technologically inclined then the parent, but when the child is young. The time spent helping a child build a simple birdhouse,or even a rubberband shooter, will stay in their memory far longer then who posted what on their facebook account thingy.
    I guess I too am a bit conservative, as I havent a cellphone, nor a desire for one,and as for the glossy photos, and the feel of the printed pages in my grasp, I am not ready to go without that either Shannon.Keep up the great work ! Dale
    PS: I do however like that little picture of the boy controlling the scrollsaw with a joystick!
    Dale w/ yella saws

  • #2

    I so agree. I remember taking shop classes in Jr. High and they were some of my favorite classes. My son, who is a senior this year, never took shop class.

    My best friend's father was into making styrofoam duck decoys. He would let us pour and bake the ducks and then he would paint them. Many a cold winter nights were spent in the heated garage making decoys (I grew up in Wisconsin, Oshkosh to be exact). How many kids today get to experience that?

    We had tons of fun as kids building tree houses and camping in the back yard. Or just spending time outside playing kick the can, red light, green light or anything else we dreamed up. We would disappear all day long to go play in the woods and would only show up at lunch time or when the street lights would come on.

    Most kids don't have a clue what that is like and it's a real shame.
    "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney


    • #3
      I think that Shannon has raised some very good points in the column. It does seem that when you go to a store if the cash register or computer does'nt tell the cashier what change to give no one knows how to do the math. I know that in some of the local schools the teachers are telling students to look it up online and print it out. What has happened to the encyclopedia or library and write it down. I am forty years old and may be from the sticks but my teachers had their own paddles and so did my parents. Just my two cents. Steve
      If This HillBilly Can't Fix it Then it Ain't Broke!!!
      My Gallery
      [email protected]


      • #4
        Everything that Shannon said it true. I think it is both sad and scary . Far to many young people now a days believe if it can't be done with a push of the button or the click of a mouse it is not worth their effort. What matters even more is they have little respect for those who can use their hands or see a design in a slab of wood. Now don't get me wrong. I think technology is great. Hey it was not for technology we would not be on-line here. Our education system is supposed to turn out rounded young people. I'm in my mid 50's. I still use today what I learned in shop. I can't tell you when I last used the trig or chemistry I learned in high school. I think without wood shop, metal shop and other like programs young people will be lost down the road. And today's young people are our future.
        Creator of fine designer sawdust.


        • #5
          Boy what a mouthful ya'll have said! And I couldn't agree more!!
          But one advantage for those of us who can and do work with their hands is that we can name our price to those who can't or don't.

          DeWalt 788

          aut viam inveniam aut faciam

          God gives us only what we can handle.. Apparently God thinks I am one tough cookie.....


          • #6
            Good job

            Way to go, Dale, I couldn't agree more. My shop teacher through Drafting class led me to what I do to day, I am a Design Engineer designing Printed Circuit Boards. And, believe it or not with out a computer .

            I tell ya these kids need to get out more and not just the Mall.

            Great editorial, Shannon.


            My saw is a DeWalt788 Measure twice; cut once; count fingers after cut


            • #7
              NC Scroller, I think you hit the nail on the head!!! I use trig, physics, chemistry, and biology every day...but most people don't think about it. If you do any woodworking at all, you're using Trig and Geometry (and sometimes algebra). When you spray a bit of water on wood before gluing it with polyurethane glue, or apply a lacquer finish, you're using chemistry, and just the act of scrolling (from clamping a blade, to feeding wood into the's all physicis). Biology comes in when you take into account wood expansion and contraction, hardness of wood, and any wood toxicity.

              I think people need to really show the connection between these seemingly unrelated subjects. I know my video game-playing skills have increased exponentially since I started hand-eye coordination is incredible, and I attribute that directly to scrolling.

              You hear about the classes where the physics instructor takes the class to an amusement park to show the principles of physics...and my wife tells me that the geometry/trig teacher broke out mini pool tables to show the students trig/ why can't you combine shop class WITH mathematics...or even computer class or art's just a matter of getting people to think outside the box!!!



              • #8
                Recently the President and several members of The Long Island Woodworkers Club went to a local school and worked with the teachers there to develop an intrest in wood working. They tought the kids how to do "Hand Cut Dovetails". They made small jewejry boxes. I must say I was jealous of the beautiful joints thes kids cut. The kids had to write an essay about the experience. ( They did it all but the chiseling, to dangerous for this age group) The three winning essays were read at our last meeting by the 3 girls that wrote them. They also were each presented with a Japanese pull saw. (with the parents permission)
                To see the exitement and pleasure that these kids experience with this project was wonderful.

                This meeting was also our semi annual round robin where we have different areas set up to demonstrate the various asspects of our hobbies. I was demonstrating scrolling and was cutting 3d bows which I gave to the kids.

                A most rewarding experience.
                RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association


                • #9
                  Hi all:

                  Just to stir up the pot, as it were, just a few random thoughts on this thread:

                  In the battle between Style and Substance, it is a complete rout by Style. Substance may not be able to recover in our life-time. Craftsmanship is now very seldom compensated as generously as a "pretty veneer of shine" over substandard construction.

                  30 years ago, the early 1970's, technology was in very bad repute. It was assumed by the general public that all things technical would need repair at some point. To fill that need, there were small local businesses built around repair of TV, Radio, home appliances, cars, even telephones. Young people that I know today, a limited sample to be sure, don't know the concept of distrust of technology. My old Kaypro C-P/M Z80 computer {that means pre DOS} is actual older than my Nephew who is now a college graduate. He had / has no concept as to why I paid extra money for the electronic schematic and a H/W technical manual for that old computer back in 1983.

                  Ask any scroll sawyer selling at a craft show, and at least once they will be accused of using a computer controlled laser cutter to make their products. To many young people that I know, the actual act of craftsmanship and skill building ends at the computer screen and the computer application. Please don't mis-understand me, some of the direct to computer revival of classical art work I have seen is very good and took a lot of training and skill to produce. (examples of new artist although only a few direclty to computer: )

                  I cannot predict the future. But the human spirit to use one's hands to make, form, shape something into a visually appealing object is very strong. It is only the technology used which changes.



                  • #10
                    Very Good thread Dale. I too agree with what Shannon has said.
                    My daughter Jennifer became so concerned with the way her two youngest children were being taught, that she took them out of school. The 3 of them have moved into a cottage, quite some distance from the city, and she is home schooling them until the end of this school year. She was also concerned about the amount of time, and the impact that tv and computers were having, so they were put away. The kids now have a more structured day, with controlled exposure to the tv and the computer. When I saw the kids at Christmas, they were in a totally different frame of mind, calm is what I called it, from what they were when I saw them in the summer. The kids were so hyper before she moved them away, and Jen blamed it totally on the amount of tv and computer exposure. Now they read, do crafts, Sara is learning how to do pottery, Andrew is learning pyrography (is that what wood burning is called) and they enjoy each others company. The transformation only took a couple of months and now these two kids are pleasant to be around, they are happy in their new environment and it shows. BTW: these kids are 9 & 10.
                    I quess the point I'm trying to make is, If the parents would take control of the tv's and the computers, if they would just shut them off and spend some quality time with the kids, we would all be better for it.
                    LIFE'S SHORT, USE IT WELL


                    • #11
                      yes marsha, thats pyography, and I agree with you, to many kids are forgotten at home.The one thing I dont particuliarly like about the homeschooling thing is the lack of interaction with others, and learning to deal with the differences in each person.Ive seen some home schooled kids that were real shy in public, and some that cope even better then anyone else. As to why, I have no idea. Hats off to Jennifer! Dale
                      one afterthought I had after posting... when electricity was invented, did they ever think that that is ruining the culture, or the peoples ability to be creative, much like we think today about technology?
                      Dale w/ yella saws


                      • #12
                        Good points all. I don't think it's the technology or the kids. Kids usually ask the most questions and are the most fascinated with my work at shows. I think it's the fact that the "me" generation is raising them. TV's and computers are doubling as babysitters. If that's all you give them, it's all they'll know. My 8 yr old is learning to scroll and my 6 yr old will soon. It's up to the parents to teach them about these things. The reason so many shop classes are disappearing is also due to the sue-happy parents. The liability insurance has become cost-prohibitive for many school districts.
                        Of course, this thread seems to have a US slant to it, I'd be curious to here what Gill, Theresa and others across the pond(s) have to say. Is it the same everywhere?
                        Scrollsaw Patterns Online
                        Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671


                        • #13
                          Having no involvement with youngsters, I'm not qualified to comment. It's not a subject that I feel passionate about.

                          There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                          (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gill
                            Having no involvement with youngsters, I'm not qualified to comment. It's not a subject that I feel passionate about.

                            What are you talking about, Gill? You are still a youngster.

                            Making sawdust with a Dremel 1680.


                            • #15
                              Terrific topic Dale!

                              I think the URBANIZATION of America has a great deal to do with it. Kids who do not have a connection to the natural world (be it hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, hiking, cutting firewood, etc....) fall prey to the concrete and asphalt jungle with all it's bright lights and instant gratification.

                              There is a good book out there called Last Child In the Woods by Richard Louv. It "links the absence of nature in the lives of today's wired generation to the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression."

                              Getting kids involved in outdoor activites leads to a healthy, balanced adult.

                              Just my $0.02.
                              ‎"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They're easier to ignore before you see their faces. It's easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes."

                              D. Platt


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