The Dad’s Guide to Home Repair

  by Erik Wolgemuth

As the weekend dawns anew and transformational cups of brewed coffee beans are consumed, many a father finds himself ready to tackle the Saturday to-do list. Because, if you reside in a home of any nature, your dwelling will require near constant repairs and upkeep and such activity holds a perpetual position on that list.

Now it may be tempting to push the proverbial pause button on your fathering and slink off while your crew delights in Saturday morning animation, but don’t make the mistake of separating your dadcraft from that repair work. The natural combination of the two is more straightforward than you might think. Here’s your guide to home repair, dadcraft style:

1. Invitation

Should the Saturday morning scene described above unfold and, in a lesser dadcraft moment, you decide to tuck in on the work yourself…if your household is anything like, a few minutes will pass and then you’ll inevitably hear queries ranging from “What are you doing?” to “Can I help?” Far better to be proactive and to pursue your child’s involvement in this work. Invite them in, ask for their help, let them know you want to spend that work time with them. This will serve as a reminder to the kids that you want to spend time with them and it’ll give you a chance to teach them some handy skills.

2. Tools & Components

An exciting part of any repair process is the gathering of the tools and components (nails and screws and such). You’ll cover the hazardous ones yourself, but load up your kids with the rest. Once you’ve arrived at your repair location, spread all the tools out on the ground and take a moment to talk about each one. It’s not a bad idea (or without humor) to invite guesses on the names and function of each tool. And then as you get rolling on your project, consider your young apprentices as your tool-fetchers (again, hazardous tools excluded).

3. Instructions

Your relationship with instructions likely depends on your personality. You might see the step-by-step guidance that came with your purchase as nothing more than a free coloring book for your kiddos. If so – and assuming your finished product fully resembles what was intended – hats off to you, sir. For the rest of us, the instruction manual is that cypher of parts, steps and ambiguously communicated commands. Assuming your kids are of age, have them read the steps to you as you work. If they’re not at that level, you read and, if nothing else, you’ll have the delightful opportunity to define such things as flanges, hex bolts and Dr. Phillip’s favorite screwdriver versus Dr. Flathead’s. And you’ll show your kids that you too see the benefit of carefully following instructions.

4. How Things Work

As you’ve developed your dadcraft, you’ve no doubt observed that your kids learn best by doing and closely observing. A terrific dadcraft opportunity in home repair involves your ability to describe what it is you’re working on, what went wrong and what will go back to effective functioning once you’re finished. (Assuming, of course, success.) Now it might seem to you that your task is fairly ordinary, but to the child who has never considered, let’s say, the purpose and function of a garbage disposal, attention will be rapt.

5. Hands On

Now unless your repair work involves devices such as blowtorches, saws, the firing of compressed air, etc. there should be a good moment or two where you can allow things to get hands on for your kids. A screw needs tightening, a width needs measurement or a faucet needs opening. All things within your abilities, certainly, but it’s an excellent opportunity to pull in your outside help. The more you take advantage of these moments, the more faithful your workers will be.

6. Completion

Things get quite simple at this point – the task is complete, the work site cleaned, and tools back in their respective places. Naturally, successful home repair should always be followed by a tasty edible reward of some sort. Good for them, good for you.

Picture by Barn Images; Used via Unsplash license.