Friday, September 21, 2007

John Laidlaw: Teach Your Children Well

Sometimes I feel like I waste too much time on the internet, reading forums and browsing blogs. And then sometimes I come across a really good rant, like this one from John Laidlaw. The original topic was chain lube but John points out that understanding how to maintain a bicycle is not just about a bunch of gears and chain.

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Archive-URL: http://search.bikelist.org/getmsg.asp?Filename=internet-bob.10709.1104.eml
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2007 22:07:54 -0700
From: John Laidlaw
Subject: Re: [BOB] Chain lube.

Well, speaking from experience - it was my own bike, and if I wanted to ride it, I either had to pay to get it fixed, or fix it myself. Given the state of my exchequer, the latter was the preferred option. I managed to get through into my twenties, before i had a prang that damaged my frame (a "door-prize"), and into my forties before I started bending wheels occasionally. I'd say that a teenager, given the incentive CAN learn to fix things himself. Too often what happens is that a parent will come along, and say:"That's too difficult for him to do." and take over, or give it to an "expert" (Possibly the same age, but paid to do it). What does the youth learn? That the only way to get something done is to hire an expert. That, never, but never, is he or she to learn to do the job himself. It's a recipe for over-weight, under-achieving, dissatisfied, immature adults - just what we see all around us. It leads (just look at the statistics) to treating everything as "replaceable" - if your marriage, your job, your friendships are getting too hard to deal with - just junk 'em, and get new ones. They are bound to be perfect. On the other hand, if you've learned to do your own maintenance, then you think in terms of maintenance in all things, including relationships. You learn to ask if it is possible that you are doing something wrong, yourself. When that happens, then there is a chance of getting things properly fixed, for you are starting at the right end.

Oops - that rant got away on me.

But fixing your own bike, and teaching our youth to do the same thing, is a powerful paradigm for living a life.

John Laidlaw, and his old oil-can in
Victoria, BC

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1 comment:

alberto said...

So true but with one caveat: we ought to learn "well" before we try to fix our things. I made a terrible mistake while trying to fix the brakes on my wife's bike not too long ago which caused her to fall, luckily without much consequence. So, yes, we ought to learn but not take do-it-yourself lightly when certain things are best left to those who know how to do it safely and well.