4 Skills You Must Teach Your Kids: How-To Build a Fence

build-fence-skills.jpg Our feature writer Deren S. Monday recently experienced a family health scare that prompted him to share this post which we’ve broken into 4 skills.

My father, a strapping 61 years of age, went into the hospital this last week. Don’t worry, he is fine. Turns out a few decades of hypertension are starting to take a toll on the old ticker…

But… it got me thinking. When it’s ultimately time to say goodbye (and let’s face it: we all have to say goodbye someday) what will I remember most about my father? For me, that’s easy.

I will remember seeing my father at virtually every athletic game OR practice I ever played in.

I will remember the long games of catch in the backyard, a backyard that seemed immense as a boy but now feels too small and inadequate for such huge memories.

And most of all, I will remember the hours spent in the garage, in the middle of 100-degree summer heat, refinishing and re-building pianos with my Dad, not knowing then what I know now: the man worked 15-20 hours ON THE WEEKEND ALONE just to support me and my sisters.

So what do I want my son and daughter to remember? Among other things, I want to leave a legacy of competence. I want them to feel they were taught the basic yet important things in life. When it comes to home improvement, here’s the first of the top 4 skills I hope to pass on to my current and future children:

Practical Lesson #1: Building a Fence That Rots Before It Falls
I want my kids to know how to build a fence. Not a sloppy, patchwork, post-embedded-8-inches-deep fence, but a solid, sturdy, wind-defying mecca of pickets and rails. I am convinced building fences as a kid led to two things: the love of working with wood and the basic concepts of footings, lateral support, shear and fasteners.

So I encourage you to go build a fence with your sons and daughters. If your fence is fine, I am sure there is one in the neighborhood needing help. Maybe you can score some solid “helping the widow next door” points while you are at it.

Don’t know how to build a Shawshank Redemption-type fence? Well, maybe there is a future blog post there…

Deren S. Monday has spent over a decade in the residential and commercial construction industry, and is a graduate of the Construction Management Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He is thankful his father has some great years ahead… Deren is the author of Your Cheap Kitchen Remodel: A Guide to Your Affordable Dream Kitchen.

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