The Benefits of Building

tools-1209764_640Last weekend I took a trip to visit family in middle Tennessee and returned with several woodworking tools that had belonged to my grandfather. I can’t tell you how honored I am to have these tools.

I was fortunate to grow up next door to my grandparents. As I exited the school bus each afternoon, I would glance toward their house to see what they were up to. Sometimes they would be working in the garden and I would run over to help them. Secretly though, I would hope to see that the doors to the wood shop were open. That meant Granddaddy was inside building something.

I loved helping out in the shop. As an adolescent, I helped out by sweeping up sawdust or organizing nuts and bolts. I built bird houses and other small projects using hand tools and off-cuts. When I got old enough, Granddaddy taught me to use the power tools.

I enjoyed holding something in my hands that I had built. More importantly, I learned to love the process of building. I created things for my family and repaired items of my own. As a young adult, I made gifts for the woman who would become my wife. I did all of this under the guidance of my grandfather and with those tools.

I received a great deal of satisfaction from the process of designing and building each piece. I felt a sense of pride as I witnessed the joy my gifts brought to others. And I cherish the memories of learning and working alongside my grandfather. Yes, these old tools mean a lot to me.

Not too many people are interested in building something these days. It takes too much work. You have to invest not just your time, but your intellect, creativity, and passion. Building is an investment of self that precious few are willing to make.

It’s much easier to take things apart. Lots of people seem to enjoy that. There’s no skill involved; no creativity. And it’s a very self-centered activity – the only ones who derive pleasure from it are those initiating it. The rest of us just get to clean up the mess and attempt to recover from the destruction.

Of course, you tend to reap what you sow. People who spend their time building attract others who want to build too. Skills are enhanced, partnerships are created , and the synergy almost always leads to something great.

Those who spend their time tearing things apart inevitably attract and teach others to do the same.

I think the world needs more builders. We need people who are not just willing, but passionate, about creating something. And, as you can probably guess, I’m not just talking about wood projects. I’m talking about teams, relationships, and cultures. I’m talking about spending your time building others up rather than tearing them down.

I like building. That’s why I built my own shop soon after moving into my first house. That’s why I taught my sons and my daughter how to design and build their own projects. And it’s why I’m excited about adding my grandfather’s tools into the mix. I anticipate some great things will be built as a result.

What about you? What can we build together?