Saturday, 2 January 2016

Toolboxes and Cookbooks

Buying graduation gifts for the young men and women in my life was something I puzzled over for a long time.  I love it when I can give just the right gift - something that is not only appreciated, but is useful, and meaningful.  But what sort of present could convey that sentiment?  I had an idea. 

For the girls, I gave them a toolbox with a hammer, screwdriver set, tape measure, mini-level, a picture hanging kit, carpenter’s pencil, some nails and screws, a glue gun, pliers, a roll of duct tape, and some WD-40 (these last two items alone can repair about 90% of all issues with the adage:  if it moves and shouldn’t use duct tape, if it should move and doesn’t use WD-40).  Inside the toolbox was a card explaining that we each have our own toolbox for life - a place where we keep our talents, abilities, drive, and passions ready to use whenever we need them.  With continued knowledge and experience, they could add valuable tools to their toolbox throughout their lives.  Besides, girls aren’t usually given toolboxes and what could be more practical for someone who is going to live on their own for the first time?

For the boys, I put together a large laundry hamper filled with a few pots, a couple non-stick frying pans, cooking utensils, dishcloths and dishtowels, oven mitts, an apron, an egg timer, and some storage containers.  I topped off the whole stack with the cookbook “The Bachelor’s Guide to Ward Off Starvation” by Clarence Culinary Culpepper.  It has some of the tried and true basics like “how to make a cheese sandwich”.  Of course, included in the basket was a card explaining how important it is for them to continue to nurture themselves.  That the key to a full and satisfying life is to feed not only their body, but their mind and soul with a steady diet of knowledge and experiences.   As with the girls, no one usually thinks to give boys kitchen wares.  But what could be more fitting than the gift of nourishment and health?

For the most part, the gifts were very well received.  Even years later, one of the young women told me she still had some of the tools that she received.  And at least one of the young men still has that cookbook.  They may not have been the most prestigious gifts, but I think they were certainly very thoughtful and useful.  

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