Not Too Precious to Get Dirty

Why we should teach girls handy skills

Thoughts from Shiloh
4 min readJun 1, 2019


I have ninety whole minutes shop class under my belt. After the hour-and-a-half long block, I marched down the hall and announced to the principal that shop class was not my forte. I opted to take an additional history course instead, firmly placing myself on the path to a three year high school career.

The men in my life spent little time teaching me valuable life skills. Nor do I blame them. I wasn’t overtly interested, and anything outside of a book took me ages to pick up. I was a late bloomer as a driver, having a permit for two full years, only becoming licensed two months before my high school graduation. I was useless with repairs. I understood the science behind screws, thanks to physics class, but knew nothing of screwdrivers and drills themselves.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Within the first month of college, my Honda Civic alerted me that the air in one of my tires was low. This sent me into a panic. I was terrified to even drive my car. I ended up relying on a friend’s boyfriend to help me put air in the tires and sooth my worries. I was a completely helpless intellectual lump in a world built upon manual labor and mechanical knowledge.

I was a completely helpless intellectual lump in a world built upon manual labor and mechanical knowledge.

One day in college, thoughts of my mother inspired me to stop being helpless. During my early years, she was a widow running a construction company. Her petite figure was a force of nature. She managed a crew of men and ran our household. She built me a wooden swing set and gifted others numerous homemade benches. She wielded a drill and drove a pickup truck. If my mother could figure it all out, I certainly could, too.

It’s been a slow process, but I have enthusiastically taken up learning real-world skills. One of my first leaps was making functional, plug-in lamps from decorative liquor bottles. My then-boyfriend was thrilled with my skills.

I am proud to say now that I change my own air filters and washer fluid in my car. I know how to look at mechanic forums and troubleshoot problems. I built the majority of my chicken run by myself, with my oldest child…



Thoughts from Shiloh

Mountain dweller. Bibliophile. Plant-based eater. Eternally sentimental.