Under this heading we have grouped together a lot of somewhat related subjects which have to do with the ability to produce a particular item with your hands. Of course, there are many such skills covered under other tabs as well, but the ones here seemed to need a tab of their own to cover them, so that's what we've made. Just to set your mind at ease; we didn't learn all the following skills over night! In fact, this may surprise you, but Dad and Mom didn't even start out knowing most of these skills themselves. Dad grew up on a farm, driving tractors and milking cows. He didn't plumb houses, lay wood flooring, run computers, play the piano, or sketch. Mom had never seen a garden before she got married. She didn't knit, paint, take photos, buy over the internet or make lace. Most of these things they still don't do. One by one, as the need or aspiration developed, whoever was involved set to work to acquire another skill to fulfill it. I would say the majority of the skills in this section have been begun by a single one of us. A personal interest would develop and that individual would set to work to learn what was necessary to fulfill their desire. This has led to quite a lot of diversity in the family, which is fun to witness! It has also eased the learning process for anyone else who desires to learn since someone has already pioneered the way. All that was and is necessary in order to learn a new skill is the ability to teach yourself what you desire to know. Dad and Mom might not be able to teach us the skills we aspire to, but they have taught us to teach ourselves, and for that we are gratefully indebted to them!
All forms of art are a luxury of some sort. They are above and beyond the essentials of daily living and of a basic education. For this reason we can get along pretty well without them. Although living the busy schedules that we do, many of us children have stopped to teach ourselves a specific art form that interests us just for the pleasure of doing something new and relaxing, something that doesn't have any time limits or due dates but that we can relax over and take our time to just enjoy! Besides being a fun and easy way to relax after busy weeks of construction or gardening, art forms each have a valuable end product; a sketching for the wall, a card for a friend or photos for your memory album. With few responsibilities and at least a little time that we can devote to personal interests, we children face what is probably the only opportunity we will ever have to learn new, luxury skills. What we learn now is probably all we will have, so we are making the most of our opportunity!
Crafts can be a lot of fun. In fact, I find many of them to be more enjoyable and relaxing than the arts I pursue! Maybe that's because I spend more time producing crafts than arts so they come more naturally and without much thought. Whatever the reason, I and my sisters spend a lot of time making crafts. Matt. 6: 21 says, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." When you spend a lot of time making something special it really is a treasure. For this reason we encourage our young children to start out by making things for the family. By planning and making treasures for their family they unconsciously begin to set their hearts there and enjoy serving and benefiting one another. Besides making gifts and meeting needs within the family we also make a lot of craft items for our Hope Chests. This also has a way of setting your heart, in this case on your future family. In Genesis 2, God commanded man to be fruitful and multiply. We women look forward to raising our own families someday and are making preparations to do so. However, we must be careful to keep a balance in our lives. God may or may not call us to marriage and we must be content with whatever He gives us. Although we prepare for the future, we must live at peace with where we are right now. We have a loving family around us with many opportunities to serve and bless them, and we enjoy doing so with the crafts we make.
Here again, we have learned these skills one at a time as the need or opportunity arose. We haven't always known them. Over the years our family has accepted skill-learning opportunities; not necessarily because we wanted the skill for support or job purposes, but because we want to be able to supply the needs of our family ourselves as much as we can, whether that be in home or vehicle repairs, computer maintenance or something else. But just because we aren't planning to get jobs that require that skill doesn't mean that we never will. You don't know what may happen to your job of choice, so we try to be prepared to work in a number of different areas. This applies most directly to our young men because we believe it is the man's place to support a family. However, because we women may at some point be widowed and left with the care of a family, we feel it is important for our young ladies to have at least one way in which they could support their families as well. Ideally, our brothers will take care of us, but we aught to be able, in some way, to lighten the financial load. Besides these back up job possibilities and home maintenance skills, our young men each work in their specific field of interest to develop themselves in ways in which they can support their families. These differ for each one according to their personalities and desires.
For many, the season to learn new and interesting skills is pretty much past. The cares and responsibilities of a family consume most of the time in a day and there is very little time left for new ideas. The season for trying new things, for being daring, for broadening our horizons and increasing our possibilities in life is when we are young. Not that parents can't learn anything new! They can and should seek to improve their lives and that of their families, but many can only encourage and support their children in pressing on ahead of them and learning for themselves. The children and young adults have a vast opportunity before them. What they learn while they are young will remain with them all through life and those skills can be all the more easily passed on to the next generation. Now is their opportunity!
We hope that what you read in this section will be an encouragement to you. Enjoy, and feel free to implement any creative ideas you come across!
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