There have been many little boys in the storyline of my life. They have been a mixed bag of babies, toddlers, kids, young men and full grown (but not grown up) ones. They all, from time to time, pick up a hammer, and wield it. No matter what age, they all do the same thing. They weigh it in their hand, look at it for a long moment, savouring the potential.
I can still picture my little brother wearing nothing but a diaper stumbling around the house with our Father’s hammer, like a little drunken avenging angel. The hammer was too heavy for him, but he was going to find a nail to hit, and hard. My son has built a lemonade stand and learned the hard way that a hammer requires a measure of accuracy to operate.
Although power tools are likely the preferred implement these days, the hammer is one of the most basic tools since man used rocks to hang skins on cave walls. Generations of men and boys have felt the satisfying smack of a perfect delivery when the hard metal head connects with the head of a nail, or a cat.
Hammers are integral in the acquisition of hand eye coordination and visual accuracy. They are also a great motivator for emergency response systems. Nothing can cause a mother to move faster than seeing her son careening along behind his sister, wielding a hammer.
Setting aside the murderous potential of a five year old and his Dad’s hammer, the male and hammer construct is important. The role of modern males is so fraught with contradictory messages. They must be strong, and gentle, and fatherly and warriors. Men must be everything. To this I say, let them have a hammer. Let them learn to put up pictures, scare their siblings and drop it on their own toes. These are all critical life lessons. Nothing teaches planning and caution like a blackened impact wrecked thumbnail.
And ladies, the next time you see a hammer just lying around, pick it up and feel the power of potential mass construction. It is exhilarating.
Advice with a twist: www.magnoliaripkin.com