The Importance of Making Things

My father was a very good craftsman. He made furniture, he made silverware and he had an incredible gift in terms of how you can make something yourself.
— Jonny Ive

I work with a man who, for a hobby, builds skateboards.  He sees himself as a craftsman.  My neighbor plays the piano, making beautiful music that can be heard several houses away.  She sees herself as a musician.  My mom makes DVD's for people who retire or celebrate anniversaries.  She sees herself as a curator.

Making stuff- it's pretty important when you think about it. Some of us make things that are made of wood and some of it is digital.

Even the Catholic Church talks about making things (i.e. work) and the ability to create: "Work  is a good thing for man-a good thing for his humanity-because through work mannot  only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves  fulfilment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes "more a  human being.”  (On Human Work)

There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.
— Winston Churchill

Work-as-making is good.  It makes us good and if we do good work, it makes the world good.  

My son Thomas and I watched a show on TV tonight about making treehouses.  We talked about how nice it would be to make a tree house if (and when) we purchased a bigger plot of land.  We were drawn to the concept of making something that we could enjoy.  We imagined making something awesome and then sharing it with others.

It got me thinking- what can you make on a daily basis in the event that a treehouse is out of the question?  Here's a short list:

  • You can make dinner for your family
  • You can make a phone call to someone 
  • You can make your bed
  • You can make your workspace cleaner
  • You can make your email inbox lean and mean

And then I got to thinking, "What am I making right now, at this point in my life?"  Here goes:

  • I'm making a blog each week that I absolutely love.
  • I'm making a doctoral dissertation on iPads in education.  70 pages in and still going strong.
  • I'm making eye contact each day with my kids and my wife, connecting with them and listening with all of my senses.
  • I'm making my driveway clear and clean as more and more snow appears during winter.
  • I'm making a difference in my neighborhood as I shovel Mrs. Luby's driveway since she cannot shovel at her age.

What about you?  What are you making right now and what difference does it make?


At home, At WorkMike StPierre