Woodworking organizations offer no help
I have interacted with magazine editors, educators on every level, writers, authors, parents and grandparents and tool developers for two decades about the sad demise of woodworking for or should I say with young people. Few understand the dilemma; some do, but only in part, and so I conclude that they cannot truly comprehend my concerns. For people between the age of 4 and 18 years of age real woodworking does not exist for them and during their formative years, when all of the senses should be deliberately infused with the essence of this and other crafts, we find them unaware of even the possibility that working wood might be for them. Because, regardless of what they or anyone says, most organizations are governed by overarching industrial bodies of some kind, and rely heavily on funding from such sources, there has always been a very measured control of woodworking knowledge and education culminating in general around the machine.
Public education holds sway in the wrong direction
Teachers in ordinary everyday schools at the secondary levels categorize students into two pivotal student types; the academics and the non-academics—the intellectual and the non-intellectual or the ‘thickies’. Trade school (US) is where you divert the thick kids who have either not applied themselves to academic subjects or show no interest in the subject matter. Rarely if ever do they consider that they have no guidance from school or home or those advising them have no real knowledge of work ethic, work life or work options. Rarely do they make the two worlds of creativity and intellect mesh together. Only after I left formal education did the two wonderful worlds unite for me. Most teachers I know were in formal education from being toddlers until they went to college or university and so were trained entirely in an educational stream and then became teachers. Their not so expansive knowledge inhibits their ability and though they present themselves as ‘experts in their field’, their knowledge is rarely from the perspective of producing, trading, marketing product of any kind and nor is it from living within the world of commerce and enterprise. Rarely have they worked in the world of that kind of work. In the UK we unfortunately have careers advisors and I shouldn’t even go down that road so I won’t. Dig a little deeper into the world any of the movers and shakers above and you will rarely find that they have much of a woodworking background of any substance yet we rely on them as the new genre experts to guide us.
How do we reverse the trend and raise awareness?
The question then is this. How do we reverse the trend of non-woodworking for children? For my part I plan to release a series of serious project based articles for you to work on with your kids and grandkids, students, friends, nephews and nieces and so on. If you will do one thing and sign up for this I will make certain to include you for my newsletter RWC (The Real Woodworking Campaign. I will seek input from other authors as well as myself to contribute to this online. Please join me as we progress this. Whether you support me this way or not I plan to continue and invest in the new genre woodworker at every level as I have for the past two decades. This could develop into a woodworking magazine for parents and youngsters. Please pass this on to any outlet you think can help raise awareness that woodworking could easily become a craft of the past because unlike other crafts, the machine manufacturers have bombarded the world of woodworking with erroneous information and dumbed down woodworking to a machine-made substitute that now eliminates children from learning and mastering skill.
Those who have attended my seminars through the past two decades can really help in the USA. You guild members have the key too. What about woodworking stores and such. Get the kids in and train ’em up.
Thanks for listening,