Every now and then I meet an adult who never works on their own stuff. They’ll change a lightbulb, but that’s it. Everything else goes to a shop or they hire a contractor.

That’s not how I was raised. I was taught that if something breaks, grab some tools and take a look. At least give it a shot, you can mess up a whole bunch of times before equaling paying someone and you’ll learn something no matter what. You’ll also get the satisfaction of working with your hands.


I’ve adapted that into my saying. Here’s Nick’s (that’s me!) wisdom for life:

When I meet someone who does X, is that person smarter than me, or do they just have training or experience? If the answer is no, Google search it and give it a shot. If it’s yes, or the consequences are so severe that death is a good chance, then don’t even bother and go to the pro.


So for most things I’m willing to tinker. Medical sees a pro, dentist pro, natural gas lines pro, etc etc.

Which brings us to today. If I die tomorrow, I want my 11yo son to grow up to be someone who is willing to try working on stuff. My wife’s Odyssey is in need of front brakes, I bought rotors and pads on Black Friday, and we had a day at home with semi warm weather.

Illustration for article titled Not on my watch.

Put the van on the lift and started teaching. Showed him how to use the lift, chock the wheels, use the impact to remove the lugs. Then we talked about how brakes work including hydraulics and took it apart to see how it all goes back together. Asked him how he thought it all went back together and he could figure out which pad went where, showed him he could just check the other side for reference. Explained how torque on a bolt works and tied that to a lesson he had in school by using a 2’ breaker bar vs a 10” ratchet and finally how to use a torque wrench to get things just right.


He seemed to have a good time and learned a lot. I really hope it gave him the confidence to tackle things in the future when I’m not around. I’d rather he try and fail than not have the confidence to give things a shot. Hopefully that will be my legacy.

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