This I Believe

Samantha - Chester, New Hampshire
Entered on March 5, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

Building Relationships

I believe in tools. I believe in their ability to create, repair, and connect. I believe in the power they hold. They are the force behind the tallest skyscrapers, the smallest computers, and the simplest relationships. Tools give people the ability to dream bigger, to live longer, to expand farther than ever imagined. I believe my own life would not be the same without them.

Some of my first memories are of my Dad in his workshop. He would spend hours working there, creating masterpieces out of nothing but discarded pieces of wood, scraps from some project he had long since finished. I idolized him for having the ability to envision possibility. He saw a doll house in chipped plywood, a tree fort in imperfect blocks of lumber, a racecar in broken pieces of kindling wood. I would do anything I could to be a part of his creations, even if I could only watch.

More often than not, I simply made things worse whenever I tried to help, somehow managing to bend nails, strip screws, and dull blades no matter what the project was. Hearing my dad’s reassurance, however, was enough to get me through even the worst blunders. Together, we would push pieces of cedar along the table saw toward its moving teeth; my Dad’s guiding hand protectively covering my unlearned fingers. It was in those moments that I felt the unbelievable power of tools for the first time. They brought my Dad and me together, strengthening our relationship with each wrench, each washer, each drill bit that we used. We were creating masterpieces in both woodwork as well as bonds and I loved every moment of it.

The first time my Dad let me lead one of his projects was the highlight of my childhood. We were building a bench that doubled as a toy chest. When finished, it was going to sit in the corner of our family room, the heart of our home. By placing the responsibility on me, my Dad showed the trust he had in my abilities, a thought that terrified me at the time. I started slow, looking frequently for my Dad’s assuring nod. Eventually, however, my hands began working independently from my fear. I called out bolt sizes, drill bit types, and board lengths until there were no more parts to connect, no more sections to create. Together, my Dad and I finished the piece. As we brushed the protective stain on the raw wood, I felt closer to him than ever before simply because of the reality we had created around us, a world of tools that has since shaped me into who I am today.

Tools have the power to render hope, develop relationships, and produce miracles, miracles as small as the endless number of cabinets and stepstools my Dad created from nothing but split wood. As the backbone of life, they give us all, in some way, the ability to envision possibility. This I believe.