Growing up I always tried to help my dad with DIY jobs around the house and wanted to be able to do what he did. But his lack of patience, or maybe my lack of understanding, meant that I was often relegated to being the gofer, tea maker, holder of things and sweeper up. This led to feelings of inadequacy for many years and an avoidance of certain jobs and activities.
In the run up to becoming a dad last year, I suddenly felt a need to make something with wood. Perhaps it was out of a fear that I wouldn’t match up to my vision of what a dad looked like but I found myself making small objects and then bigger ones. Things seemed to come naturally and my confidence slowly grew. The shame and inadequacy that I’d felt started to shift. I’m not sure if I have learned because of or in spite of him but something seems to have gone in, and stayed. Working with wood has become a way to combine a creative and physical labour, a connection between my dad’s and my own world. As a son and now also a dad myself, I am looking back to consider the experiences that shaped me whilst questioning the future experiences which may shape my son and what my role will be in them.