Never stop learning.
Last May, our son Colby did something that no one in my family had ever done: He earned his Master’s degree, officially in “postsecondary education: student affairs.” Basically it means that, after spending seven years in college, his career will be spent... well... working at a college. Honestly, Annette and I couldn’t be more proud.
Before he graduated, Colby gifted me with this hammer, into which he’d woodburned his gratitude. (Annette received a similarly adorned flower pot with his thanks “for helping me grow.”) The hammer hangs by my office door as a daily reminder that we always need to build—and grow—our skills, regardless of how much we know, or how much we think we know; and regardless of our age.
The point was hammered home at our annual Weekend With WOODTM conference just two weeks after Colby earned his hood. I saw seriously skilled senior woodworkers scribbling notes as they learned a refinement on a finishing method. And I watched just as many doe-eyed “up-andcomers” deeply drinking in everything they could learn about tuning—and safely using—their hand-me-down tools. Several people told me they couldn’t wait to rush home and put their learnings into practice.
They didn’t have to wait that long, as more than 200 attendees built a truckload of urns for indigent veterans at Omaha (Nebraska) National Cemetery as part of our annual Weekend With WOOD Charity Build. The donation of time and talent (and tools and materials, in the case of Ryobi, Ridgid, and Woodworkers Source, who graciously provided all we needed for the build) reinforced what I’ve always believed: that woodworkers are the most generous and giving folks around.
Speaking of giving, Colby’s hammer confirmed that a gift from your hands is a gift from your heart. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be from you. Being on the receiving end was a strong reminder to give even more handmade gifts this year. And Christmas is right around the corner...
See you in the shop.