When I built my very first website, it was for an OU course I was doing that devoted an entire 30 points to learning how to search for things on the net, use basic html, find out how email and connected computers came to be (very interesting) and not write something biased and subjective. I wrote a very purple page with links to what were the main home educating websites of the time. I lost my only marks because I didn’t have a link to show the opposite side, how home education was a bad idea. I did think this was rather unfair.
However, what I gain was the ability to build something from scratch – and fix it if it broke – things which were very good back nearly 10 years ago when WYSIWYG internet solutions were a good distance away. I built the original MuddlePuddle that way and managed to maintain my blog in it’s earliest incarnations too. Then the shops happened and I needed help to create them because what they required was outside my help. Then newer blog software and CSS code came along and gradually, gently, all this slipped out of my grasp. These days I beg for or pay for technical support for almost all elements of my internet life and although that leaves me time for other things I can do better, it is frustrating to have become so dis-empowered in a process I once understood very well.
It occurred to me recently that I’m in danger of being shoved the same way in my ordinary life. A combination of laziness, disinterest and lack of confidence means my house has been decorated by other people and fixed by other people. I grew up in a home that was almost derelict when we bought it. I watched my parents pull down ceilings and plaster walls, put in electrics and re do the plumbing. As it became habitable, my mum managed oven repairs and appliance installations; nearly everything in that house was done by them.
I wouldn’t even know where to start. Quite honestly, I hardly know how to empty my bin, much less deal things like our recent corroding hot water cylinder which rather unreasonably sprayed mains pressure water all over the house after first bathing us all in the insides of radiator system.
I’m resolved to do better. Even if it is a bit late for me (old, old… I’m so terribly old…) I want to make sure my girls are a bit more prepared to give it a go before they call for assistance. Maddy is already better than woodwork than I am, Josie has learned to clean rather well from our lovely lady who does and Fran and Amelie… well, I probably need to work on them 😆 But Max has been teaching them to solder and I’m sure that will come in useful at some point.
What about you? Anything you are proud of yourself for because you learned to do it yourself instead of always paying for assistance? What sensible skills should kids today learn so they can take care of their homes, possessions and work life in the future without relying on the expertise of someone else?