I have a hard time convincing my children now that once upon a time, kids had to get all of their cartoon swag on between the hours of 8am & 12pm on Saturday Mornings…  and that was IT!… I mean sure, there were some occasional afternoon cartoons, but they were largely re-runs you’d seen before a hundred times.  In the days before Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, etc…  All the best cartoons were on Saturday mornings…  And this was long before Al Gore invented The Internets and even longer before the advent of streaming on-demand anything…  Times were simpler then…  Kids needed not have an anxiety attack over which cartoon to watch & when…  There were three stations & a 4-hour window of time… and it did not yield to anyone

That last part used to make me so mad on a weekly basis…  Because where I grew up, there were always lots & lots of chores to get done on a Saturday… and that usually meant I’d miss most or all of my cartoons.  Oh sure… I’d try to drag out breakfast as long as possible… But inevitably, there was a barbed wire fence to mend… or a field to plow… or a barn roof to repair… or any number of other things that come up on a small farm and they would not wait!…  At least that’s what my dad told me…  And so the cartoons all too often had to…


At roughly the turn of the century, The Industrial Revolution forever changed the American family.  More specifically, it radically changed the relationship between fathers & sons.  For most of human history, sons grew up working side by side with their fathers on a daily basis, for the good of the family.  They learned multiple crafts & disciplines working at their father’s side, but more importantly, they learned about manhood.  They learned what it took to be a man and eventually, they developed not only the necessary skills, but also the confidence in themselves that manhood required.

But the Industrial Revolution ended a lot of that natural progression for boys in the 20th century.  For the first time in human history, and in quite large numbers, fathers left home to go work at the factory or the mill in pursuit of a better life for their families.  It was a noble effort… and one that has brought about most of the creature comforts we enjoy in today’s modern world.  But the impact on each generation since cannot be underscored.  And it has compounded over the years until today, where as a society… we can no longer even agree on what manhood should even mean…


So like I said…  Saturday morning was chore day at my house.  And if the chores were all done, there were always small projects to complete.  It was so bad that friend of mine just knew… Sleepovers on Saturday Nights were gravy…  Sleepovers on Friday Nights?…

danger-will-robinson

Danger Will Robinson!… If you slept over at my house on a Friday Night, you were getting sucked into whatever chores or projects Saturday had in store…  And no one got a pass!…

I whined & complained about this INCESSANTLY!!!…  in my own head that is…  Because if I had ever voiced any of these concerns out loud, I would have woken up in the following week… as I should have…


I kind of doubt that it was intentional on his part, but at the same time… I should’ve given him far more credit for this & much sooner than I actually did.  Because the simple fact of the matter is that those Saturday mornings were the best “fathering” moments of my entire life.  Dad worked a lot of hours Monday through Friday, but Saturdays?…  That was our time… I wish I’d understood this better at the time…

Most every significant “manhood” skill that I ever learned, I learned on one of those Saturday mornings.  Straightening bent nails led to driving straight nails, which led to building a shed or siding a barn…  So building a deck onto my house later in life…  That was actually a joy for me to build and secretly a huge source of pride…  Plowing a field, led to driving a truck and mastering a stick shift… which is becoming a lost art form…  Fired my first rifle… my first shotgun…  both on a Saturday… And now, I can pick off boyfriends at 100yds without hesitation…  Build or repair a septic system?… Plant a garden?… Wire a house circuit?… Okay, actually that last one was all me, but here’s why…


In the early years, I was just the helper… Go get me this… Go get me that…  Hold this board… and so on… For the most part, it was just the two of us working together…  Somewhere around age 10 or so, we developed this unspoken game where I tried to anticipate what tool or thing he would need before he would ask for it… Oh my word, I can’t even describe the thrill I would feel when I anticipated correctly & handed him the tool/thing as he was in the process of asking for it…  To pull that off… I had to assess the situation, understand what was happening, see where the work was going, foresee where the potential issues were, and act in advance of the need to make the job more successful…  It’s no wonder that I ended up becoming an Engineer as a career choice…  I was solving problems & improving processes before I ever reached middle school.  Then at some point late in high school, he’d actually start asking my opinion on how to approach some jobs we were engaged with…  It was a huge boost of confidence for me going into college… And confidence was something I needed in droves at that point in life…


So yeah… wiring the house circuit?… That was all EE101…  But I never would’ve been in those Electrical Engineering classes in college without missing  those Saturday Morning cartoons…

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