Today's installment of my daily blessings is brought to you today by the letter "I". I for Industrial Arts.
Now stick with me here....
When I was in the seventh grade, I was extremely persistent in wanting to take Home Economics class when I lived at Yokota Air Base, Japan. The eleven year old me didn't know much back then, but I knew well enough that Home Ec. was essential!
Now, before it is perceived that I wanted to be Miss Molly-Homemaker, please understand that nothing could be further from the truth. Back then, I wanted to be an archaeologist and Egyptologist. I did not want to stay home and become a domestic engineer. I was no budding Martha Stewart. But I did want to know how to construct things from cloth (I found the whole process magical). I wanted to know how to construct meals. I badly wanted to learn how to make things with my own two hands.
So, when we all had the chance to pick our electives for the upcoming semester at school, I always, always, always listed Home Ec. as my number one choice. Followed by art and nothing else very exciting because I don't even remember. But Home Ec. was always my first choice.
Before I proceed, I just have to add that I went to a DoDDs school (an American school on a military base for military dependents) that had grades 7-12 all under the same roof. Or should I say, on the same campus. Yes, it was a HUGE campus. And one of the neat things was choosing electives. And starting in the 7th grade, I immediately chose Home Ec. as my elective.
But alas, it wasn't meant to be. Yet.
Instead, during every semester at school my seventh grade year, I was saddled with Industrial Arts class. And when I first saw Industrial Arts on my upcoming schedule, I was so bummed. Whilst I knew I wanted to construct things with my hands, I did not want to construct things out of wood with my hands. In my mind, this was a boy's hobby. It would be too complicated!! This I strongly thought. But, God or the computer program in charge of student schedules decided that Industrial Arts would be my one elective for a whole year. And honestly...it was great.
I discovered a love of working with wood. I enjoyed taking measurements, using table saws, band saws, electric sanders, and all of the other wood working accoutrement. I even got a kick out of being the only girl in a classroom full of idiotic boys who would gleek on each other and play paper football while roll was being called. But in that one seventh grade year of Industrial Arts class, I had a soul stirring empowering experience. I was shocked in myself that I enjoyed learning how to use tools, how to take measurements, how to build shelves, and other woodworked items. Taking Industrial Arts class first gave me the confidence to know that I could work with materials I once found intimidating. And it taught me that even though I was a girl, I could do anything, fix anything, build anything.
The next year I did get to take Home Ec. class for an entire year, and I did get to learn how to make clothes, cook food, how to read a nutrition label, how to put together a place setting, etc. And while that has stuck with me and will always be with me (as is evident by my voracious need to knit, cook, and sew), Industrial Arts class taught me something else entirely....
To this day, I am not scared to take the dishwasher out from the wall, disconnect it, find the owners manual for it online, and take it apart to find out why it's malfunctioning (and putting it back together, too). I am not scared to take the door panel off my Honda Accord's driver's side door to figure out why the window won't roll back up. I am not scared to disassemble my sewing machine in order to service it myself instead paying $50 for someone to do it for me. I am not scared of finding the root cause of a washing machine leak that flooded out the pantry of our third floor apartment. I am not scared of changing the oil in a Dodge Caravan while having half the car propped up on a curb. These are all things I've done.
And in that empowerment I first felt when I was eleven, I knew then that I wanted to be dependent on my own skills and not the skills of others. And I'm so grateful for that. Because where would I be now if I never learned that lesson? How would I handle the life I have now? I have to be terribly, terribly self-sufficient. A problem solver. A decision maker. With Greg's career, there are no options in that arena in regards to being his spouse. With his job schedule being excrutiatingly complicated, it's either do what needs to be done myself or stress trying to find someone to do it for me.
I hope that I can teach my daughters this lesson of empowerment and independence as they grow older. Because I'm not too sure if they offer Industrial Arts class anymore....