Tuesday, 24 August 2010

DIY skills no longer important ?

It seems that DIY skills or even basic practical skills are on the decline, why is this ? well I guess that technology has taken over a big part of our lives, although this doesn't explain why it seems that some people don't know how to wire a plug or put up a set of shelves, and according to this article in the Mail on line it seems to be an affliction people under the age of 35 ---> Mail on line article (all links open in a new window)

When I was at school we didn't get a choice in some of the things we had to learn, this I think was both a good thing and perhaps a bad thing, either way we had to attend metal work lessons,wood work lessons we also had a craft design and technology lesson, which kind of complemented the wood and metal working.
From what I know of having two older step daughters these are no longer that important in schools, and from what I know there aren't any specific lessons for wood working etc, so perhaps it's an education thing, kids just aren't being taught how to use tools to make things ?

Then again if it's the schools that aren't teaching the kids what about their parents ? surely they learned practical skills in schools ? are they not passing them on to their children ?

I don't know what the reasons are, but I have seen that the world we live in is a very different place from what it was twenty years ago, people don't tend to build things any more, or make their own furniture, or fix things that get broken, it just gets thrown away and a new one gets bought, maybe it's society that's not teaching people to do things for themselves ? I mean why make a cabinet when you can go and buy one, and even if you get a flat pack type kit you can just look through the yellow pages and you will probably be able to find someone that builds flat packs for you, we have a chap in our area who does just that, come on people, flat packs are just jigsaws at the end of the day.

The article I mentioned above isn't the only one either, it seems that these types of practical skills have been in decline for some time, and not just in England either, this article talks about how a lot of American men can't do a quarter of what their fathers did, there are a few articles on this theme, some from a few years ago, and some more recent, it's a shame and I think that people need these types of skills, and I also think that these types of skills should be past down the generations.

Here are a couple of articles from various places regarding the lack/decline of diy skills.

1 - http://www.home-improvement-blog.co.uk
2 - http://news.wickes.co.uk/brits-lack-diy-skills-452
3 - This one tickled me, apparently diy skills are in the genes - A-handy-excuse-DIY-ability-genes

As you can see it is a problem, well is it ? is it so bad that people now longer know how to use a spirit level (or what one even is) is it so bad that in 2 generations time, unless your a builder or carpenter or other tradesman you will have no idea what so ever which end of a screw driver is which ? If you ask me then the answer is yes.

These skills are what made this country (and others) what they are today, look at the Victorians, if it wasn't for them would we have half the technology we do now ? and although some of the inventors of the time were rich, or came from wealthy families they still had practical skills, they could, if need be pick up a saw or some other tool.

I for one will be teaching my kids how to do things, like putting up shelves, or wiring a plug and if they are interested how to do more elaborate things as well as how to grow their own food, which seems to be something else people have forgotten how to do, although in recent years more people seem to have taken it up again, but I bet not as many as forty years ago.

Now I'm going to get a little doom and gloom, see there is a big problem with people having little or no practical skills, not knowing how to use wood to make something, or what tool is good for what.
Lets just suppose for a moment that the year is now say 2100 everyone on the planet now has a face book profile, everyone on the planet has a computer/laptop or smart phone type device permanently attached to them, the world is electronic, nothing is made by people in sheds/workshops any more, it's all done by robot and computers in vast factories, just picture the scene, like something out of a science fiction film, Bladerunner or the like, technology every where......

What happens if it fails ? someone pulls the plug on the lot, how many people would survive with out that technology ? how would people get food ? what would you do if the fancy hover car you got won't run, would you know how to fix it ? could you adapt it to run on some other fuel if needed ? what about heat and light, how many people in this day and age know how to make a fire with out a lighter or a match ? let alone in 90 years time, makes you think ?

My point is that practical skills are needed, they should never become redundant, after all if it wasn't for early man realising that flint made a good raw material for making tools where would we be now ?

Thanks for reading.

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