Never Give Up

I have set on this article for about 3 weeks to see how things played out. Over the last several weeks I have noticed a trend. People wanting to give up because something wasn't as easy as they thought, a design didn't turn out how they wanted, they felt like doing something else, etc. I first started paying attention to it when I was working with someone in my shop. I had someone want to learn to turn pens, bottle stoppers, and a coffee scoop.


Things were going really well with the first few pens and the bottle stoppers. Well when we got to the coffee scoop things started going side ways. Holes just weren't drilling straight, we couldn't keep the blank mounted and spinning true, the scoop wouldn't thread right, etc. I saw frustrations building and then I heard the words, "I just want to give up!" With the one blank we had ruined he wasn't prepared to make changes on the fly. After taking a deep breathe we found another blank, in the box of turning blanks I have, got it drilled, and chucked up. We started turning it and the shape started turning out beautifully. 

The second time someone wanted to give up was my son. My brother, my mother, my nephew, my son, and me went to a children's Science Spectrum in Lubbock, Texas. One of the exhibits was a foam wall with slits in it. We had these thin pieces of wood to make a track down the wall. The goal was to drop this ball at the top and have a track that guides the ball all the way to the bottom without stopping or falling. After several tries my son said I don't want to do this anymore, I want to quit. I sat him down and asked him why, he told me "I can't do it". At 4 years old, it was time to have the talk to him about positive attitudes. I didn't let him give up and when he finally accomplished the goal he was so happy.

You may be asking, "why are you telling me this?" Well as wood workers we have to be prepared to make changes when something isn't going the way we planned or designed. I cannot tell you the last project that I completed when I didn't have to make some kind of changes because things were happening that I didn't plan for. There are a million things that can go wrong that we cannot plan for. The wood has an internal crack, a drill bit breaks, the wood wasn't dry enough, etc. If we didn't roll with the punches and gave up on everything that didn't go our way then we wouldn't be accomplished, not as woodworkers, artists, or humans. Just remember when something gets tough, slow down and get smart.

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