[time-nuts] Learning technology by taking the clock, apart...

Glenn Tracy glenn.tracy at shaw.ca
Sat Jul 30 13:23:15 EDT 2005

Poul and Chuck:

I've been reading your thread with great interest and share your 
feelings about taking the clock apart. "Walk the walk" I think sums it 
up pretty well.

Growing up where I did, my father encouraged me to take things apart and 
try to fix them. I am extremely grateful to him for his allowing me to 
jump in over my head and then bailing me out when the time was right.

In my adult life I repaired many things in my own home as well as at my 
sister's home (her husband had no interest what so ever) as well. I 
always endeavoured to allow my kids to participate in the repairs and 
also included her boys when they showed interest.

Her youngest son has since gone on to become quite the handyman, totally 
renovating their 100 year old three story home. I assisted him with some 
of the trickier aspects such as soldering the copper plumbing (and 
earned TV exposure courtesy of his television producer wife). A couple 
of months ago while visiting us he told me that it was as a direct 
result of my taking things apart and repairing them while he watched 
that gave him the confidence to do it himself.  He has now got his 
teaching degree and will be passing on what he has learned to the next 

The second anecdote concerns my two sons from my previous marriage. They 
also observed me repairing electronic equipment and also working on the 
computer network that I had installed in our home (15 years ago). Each 
child had their own computer in their room controller by a central NT4 
server. Unfortunately, over the last 6 years I do not have direct 
contact with the boys but I have heard that the oldest who is currently 
in the Armed Forces is taking Electronics as a trade and the younger in 
enrolled in the same College I attended to take Electronics Engineering 
as well. Go figure.

The message I really want to stress here is not the importance of the 
"taking it apart" but more so that attitude towards discovery and the 
removal of the intimidation factor. Helping some, particularly someone 
young overcome the fear of taking something apart and discovering the 
wonder of how it works is one of the most rewarding experiences of my 
life. To have my nephew acknowledge the inspiration I gave him and my 
two sons following in my footsteps makes my life a success more than any 
monetary reward can ever provide.

Please continue to encourage and help young people to discover.....



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