“Well, that’s sure cute,” my mother said thoughtfully as she rotated the soft, yellow, heart-shaped pillow in her hands.

“Barton made it,” I replied.

“Really?” She knew the kid didn’t learn sewing from me. Buttons are about the extent of my Singer repertoire.

“Yes … She’s taking a class at CityCraft with some friends,” I added.

“That sounds like fun.”

“Actually, she’s having a great time. … And, I found her a sewing machine at Tuesday Morning. On Clearance for $59. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but who knows how to use those anyway?!”

“That’s terrific,” my mom replied. “You know I used to sew… “

Oh – I remember the sewing. I’m sure my sister does, too. We would cringe whenever we saw a packaged pattern protruding from her bag. With glimmers of hope, my sister & I would search the cover of the pattern package to see if any of its promised outfits held possibility of being cute. Then we would prepare ourselves for the inevitable. Two outfits, different designs, same material. Not a highlight of our childhood.

“I never liked the patterns,” she reminisced. “I always felt like I was battling those things. I had friends who could sew without the pattern. It seemed like they really enjoyed making outfits.” She paused. “I just didn’t know what I was doing. … I could have used CityCraft.” Then she turned her thoughts back to Barton, “… and the ability to sew will help her in the future,” my mother concluded.

We both nodded and chewed on it for a moment.

Training our kids is so important. The fact that this child is learning a valuable skill puts tools in her arsenal. No longer will she be required to look to or pay someone else for something that she is more than capable of accomplishing on her own.

And its not just sewing. I had a friend the other day tell me that one of the reasons her husband involves their kids in yard work centers on setting them up for reality. He figures that when the kids venture out on their own, it’s highly unlikely they will have disposable dollars to hire a weekly service to maintain a yard.

The same goes for domestic help. If the kids are groomed to expect someone to come every week or twice a week or every day to wash clothes and clean bathrooms, what will they think about themselves when they don’t have money to hire such assistance? Or if domestic help isn’t in the picture, do they think “Mom” is supposed to be doing everything for them. Because the truth is – one day, they will have to step up. With “up” being the operative word. They will more than likely start at the bottom of the ladder, looking up, with something to show, but not abundance.

Training is important. And in our conversation, my mom unintentionally revealed one of the keys to training.

No one had really taught her how to sew. She had a sewing machine. She could read a pattern … sort of. She knew where to buy material, thread, buttons and all the goods. But she needed skill beyond the basics that she could teach herself. We all do. Thank goodness for CityCraft or something like CityCraft.

Maybe here’s where we can help each other. Sewing is not in my arsenal. I wish it was. I’ve always envied my friends who can fix their hems or make their own curtains. So why not help each other out? We could share skills, help each other as we train (teach, show, get our of the way and let them do themselves) our kids.

The possibilities are endless. Why not share favorite meals. Not just the recipes, but how to cook them. Show the kids. It doesn’t have to be a production. What if we went out on a limb and invited a few of our kids’ friends over the next time we whip up some home-made spaghetti sauce, or make curtains, or change tire, or so many life tool things. Maybe we could spread the love … and the know-how. Teach then send them on their way so they can do it for their families and eventually themselves.

I don’t know. May be a bit pie-in-the-sky-ish. But maybe we could be CityCraft sewing and Central Market cooking classes for each other. I know my mom would have loved more than basic know-how … as would her daughter.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


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