You can not put a Genie back into the bottle. It’s like repacking one of those tents from the big box store. First, take it out, then use it. Then, try to fit it back in the bag the way it started. Forget about it.
It’s part of the joy of family camping with kids. Offer them breakfast the day you return home at their favorite fast food franchise if the tent fits back in the bag and the bag into the box.

The oldest takes charge, and pretty soon, there is much-concerted action. However, my wife is looking at me sideways. She is stirring last night’s ashes for coals. Starts the fire and puts on the coffee. Today we’ll start the long peregrination home after a combined camping trip and boat show.

The division of labor on these trips is hardly fair. She gets the kids, and I get to run my booth at the show. But at some point in the day, after the kids have raided every shop in town for small toys, books, and souvenirs, they show up at the show. Once they arrive, they tour the show greeting the mixed batch of Labradors, Portuguese Water Dogs, and other canine attendees as long-lost friends, poking around booths and “helping” with sales at my booth.

Standing around the booths for hours is tedious for the kids. So they find ways to entertain themselves. A friend asked my daughter, ” Dot, what type of boat is that?” I think he was trying to distract her from some interesting object in his booth with a short lecture on rigs. But, without hesitation, my seven-year-old daughter looked up and said, ” It’s a Cutter.” It was indeed a cutter, and to the uninitiated, not any easy rig to distinguish from some others. My friend was surprised, but I was astounded. I hadn’t taught her that, although I promptly took credit. It was the learning that the observant pick up around the docks and boatyards. A lot of it is stuff you can’t learn otherwise.

As a society, we place a lot of value on formal education. Traditionally this was not so. You began to work with a family member very early, learning to cook, weave, create pots, build boats, and fish. Dot and the other kids had spent time with me at shows in my workshop and watched as I prepared designs for carving.
Yes, I was surprised that Dot casually identified a cutter. Still, to a degree, she’d had the opportunity to listen as friends discussed different forms of rigging and boat design, if only casually. Very early on, they had learned what dad had wanted when I asked them to pick up that piece of cherry, not a piece of pine.

We send off kids to school and sports these days. Rarely do children work with a parent or relative in a trade or occupation. But not that far in the past, working with a parent in the family trade or business was a regular part of a child’s life. For example, at age nine, I handed tools to my father as he repaired the engines on commercial fishing boats. I did not grow up to be a Marine Engineer like him, but I not only spent that time with my father but also learned about boats and making a living.

We have created a division between education, work, and creation as a society. We frequently don’t value the labor of people who create things with their hands because we don’t make anything ourselves. If you don’t create anything yourself, you are less than likely to value the product created by others. It will always be easier to buy the knockoff trash and not understand the actual value of what you consume.

You cannot put a genie back into a bottle. Not everyone is a weaver, potter, carver, marine engineer, cook, or gardener. Or at least we don’t start as one. More and more emphasis gets placed on lifelong learning recently. It’s impossible to put a life back into the box and bag it came in, and you shouldn’t try. Where you are going with your lifelong peregrination is more critical than where you started.

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