Earlier this week, I was on a morning walk with my dogs. Near the end of my street, I happened upon an older man and two small girls. Grandpa was sitting in a lawn chair in his driveway and the girls were busy transferring short wooden slats from a green plastic wagon to a pile at the end of the driveway. The girls were maybe 3 and 4 years old, definitely not kindergarten age yet.
Let me set the scene:
Two houses down from them, a new home is being built. On that day, a large crane was lifting rafters onto the roof. I assumed the small family clan was out watching the build. I further assumed that the girls, in their pre-schooler way, were emulating the construction workers by “building” their pile of fence pieces.
I was wrong….
As I passed by, my two eager mutts pulling me along, I off-handedly commented on how hard the girls were working.
Grandpa then proceeded to tell me that the girls had refused to do their school work (wasting their 30 minute “window of time” – direct quote), and because of that he was putting them to work. Because, if they don’t do their school work, this is the kind of work they would end up doing.
“This is work for dummies,” he said.
Hundreds of things went through in my head. (Least of which was grandpa calling his granddaughters, “dummies.”) I wondered if these young, impressionable girls were equating what grandpa said to the activity down the street. Were they thinking with their little impressionable brains that the men building the house were “dummies?” Would they extrapolate the “dummy” comment to mean all tradespeople, blue-collar workers, manual laborers, people who worked with their hands?
I didn’t contradict him, I wish I had. I have a lot of respect for tradespeople, for the skill it takes to build a house, to lay mortar, to repair cars and kitchen appliances, all those technical jobs that don’t necessarily require a college degree. If anyone thinks only “dummies” do those sorts of jobs, try replacing the brakes on your car, or rewiring an electrical plug. Try building an addition onto your house.
My two children could not be more different. My daughter was always an academic wizard. A top-ten graduate in her high school class, Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University, Master’s degree with high honors from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. It also took more than 18 months to find her Big Girl job after graduation. It’s a great job, she loves it and is very good at it, but she is not utilizing those six years of higher education as they were intended.
My son, the younger of the two, is just as brilliant as his sister, maybe even more so. His thinking is more outside-of-the box, not as linear as hers. Yet, early on, it was very clear that the traditional school environment was not his forte. That’s true for many students. We knew that college was not in our son’s future, but trade school was.
Now, he is working at a garage that refurbishes older model Corvettes. How, cool is that?
One child has the “book learning,” the other has the “hands-on skills.” I am immeasurably proud of both of them, and marvel at what they have accomplished. Neither are dummies.
“I think the stigmas and stereotypes that keep so many people from pursuing a truly useful skill, begin with the mistaken belief that a four-year degree is somehow superior to all other forms of learning.” ~ Mike Rowe
This week’s word is:
Using “job” for inspiration, write 100 Words – no more, no less. You can either use the word, or any form of the word, as one of your 100, or it can be implied. Then, add a link back here from your post (A pingback is like bread crumbs, it helps your readers find the other 100 Word stories, and it’s nice to share.), and add your story to the Mister Linky list. If you don’t have a blog, you can leave your submission in the comment section, or as a Facebook status post. Remember to keep spreading the love with supportive comments for your fellow wordsters.