What do you remember about interests you and your dad cultivated together? Perhaps it was sports or an appreciation of history, or a love of cars. For many of us, early exposure to some of these things created interests that are a part of who we are today. I know I get my interest in cars and sports from my dad. I can remember several specific events that pointed me toward those areas. Indirectly, my dad also got me headed toward a career in metalworking.
Dad is very mechanically inclined. He can fix or build just about anything. That interest and willingness to "open it up and see what we've got" was passed to me after countless hours as his young and eager assistant. In turn, I'm passing that interest in how and why things work on to my son. It's a part of my legacy.
That's the point of the accompanying photograph. It was taken at the recent EMO show in Hannover, Germany (for details about the show, click here). What I see in this picture is a possible beginning of this young man's interest in metalworking manufacturing. He is gazing at a Haas five-axis vertical machining center and taking in what his father is saying about how it cuts metal to make things we all use. I'll bet when he is older, this child remembers this Sunday afternoon spent with his dad at the machine tool show.
Maybe we here in the States should consider making our machine tool shows available to our children. Perhaps set aside an evening or afternoon for families to visit a trade show. We have a shortage of people with the skill sets necessary to work in our industry. Maybe if we could show our children at an earlier age what we do, like this father is doing with his son, we could instill interest in manufacturing at a time when impressions are easily made. What could it hurt to try?