A Couple of Lessons Learned

The other day my son alerted me to the fact that the stopper on his bathroom sink “didn’t work anymore.”

“Didn’t work anymore?” I asked.

It was then and there that I realized that, within a relatively short time – less than a generation – the idea of repairing things was no longer a part of our cultural mindset; that household objects are no longer designed to be repaired; and that when something doesn’t work anymore, we now just throw it away.

But wait . . . what my son knew as something that “didn’t work anymore,” was in fact repairable. The stopper’s horizontal pivot arm just needed to be tightened. And what’s more, I could actually show him how to repair it himself.

It was an empowering moment for us both, but it caused me to reflect back to a time when I was his age – how much my father repaired things, and how much he taught me about the use of tools and the idea of repair.

Today we are of a different world with a much different product mindset, but that can change – and should. There are wonderful ghosts that reside in our old objects. Resurrecting them, making them useful, adds a new spirit to them, along with a sense of pride and accomplishment of resurrecting something that would have been destined to the landfill.

Here’s a notion to repair with a link to the young and courageous Platform21 and their “Repair Manifesto”. Also check out their “Remarkable Repair” Contest. There’s some very creative perspectives to making old things new again.