I was driving one of my children to the gym so we could work out.
The discussion turned to an off-property project we needed to do and I was listing the "Bill of Materials" and the tools we needed.
The child responded, "Nope. We don't need those tools. Anybody can do that job without tools."
I snuck a quick glance over at the kid. They seemed to be completely serious.
After a couple of heart-beats of consideration I decided to try unvarnished truth.
"You are talking out your ass." I said.
They were offended. "There is no need to talk like that!"
"Look, I have done this job and it requires two wrenches, a pair of Vice-Grips and some sand paper." I said.
"So?" the kid said.
"So if I accepted your 'expertise' and we went to the job-site with no tools then we would both be out one hour of travel time and the job still would not be done." I said.
"That would REALLY piss me off." I continued.
"Why don't you calm down?" the kid suggested. "We were having a conversation and I was contributing. Besides, you are starting to hurt my feelings."
"Talking out your ass is not contributing. I don't mind people telling me everything they know. I am a very patient person. What I resent is when they get to the limits of what they know and keep talking. And that is exactly what you were doing." I said as we turned onto M-50.
Sneaking another quick glance over at the kid I asked, "What are you doing now?"
"I am texting my friends that my dad is talking shit to me and there is nothing I can say in return."
The kids sit in their dorm rooms or at the coffee shop or play video games while sitting on their parent's sofa and they talk. Somewhere the adults failed them. The kids think a feeling is a rational thought. They think a complete sentence is "truthie" by virtue of it grammatical completeness.
I think it is because they watched Harry Potter movies and unconsciously soaked up a belief in metaphysics. That is, the belief that "wanting something" more than the other guy is all it takes to make something come true. Of course, they rarely "want something" enough to work for it.
The problem is that most of them have not been exposed to "common labor".
I was not a particularly industrious youth but I mowed lawns, picked strawberries, raked leaves, cleaned eve troughs, hung guardrail, roofed, mowed more grass, cleaned carpets, buffed tile floors, mopped, welded trash dumpsters, drove trucks, chainsawed, mowed more grass, washed dishes, sprayed weeds, peddled merchandise door-to-door and painted lines in parking lots. Like I said, I was a slacker for my generation.
Common labor is where kids are exposed to the laws of physics. Didn't close the tailgate and you might have five gallons of paint chatter its way off the truck (don't ask) and get hit by the guy tailgating you. Put too much weight in the back of the trailer and the trailer might take leave of the bumper hitch at 45 mph and cross oncoming lanes of traffic (nobody got hurt, thank God). Don't plan your cuts right and the chainsaw will get pinched in the cut. The list is endless.
Common labor is where kids learn that the first idea that pops into your head might not be the best solution, in fact, it can get you and onlookers maimed or killed. There is absolutely nothing magical about an idea simply because the idea came out of YOUR fevered mind.
Most kids don't have the life experiences to disabuse them of the ghastly concept "Everybody's ideas, feelings and opinions are equally valid." Gag me with a ginsu! Treating "ideas" and "feelings" and "opinions" as if they were interchangeable.
I failed my kids.