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Ratzenberger: Kids Need to Learn Tools

Ratzenberger: Kids Need to Learn Tools
November 24
18:59 2017

John Ratzenberger lamented that today’s kids don’t learn to use tools the way Baby Boomers and predecessors did.

As keynote speaker at the 2017 Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association convention, Ratzenberger recalled Baby Boomers having their own tool box.

“We learned never to use finishing nails to hold steps,” said the actor best known for portraying mail carrier Cliff Clavin on the NBC sitcom Cheers.

“Why would kids want to learn tools?” Ratzenberger asked. “Shop classes are gone.”

The results? On a recent construction project, Ratzenberger discovered “the building inspector didn’t know what rebar was.” 

And today’s kids don’t want manufacturing jobs, said the actor who produced the Travel Channel’s Made in America series.

Ratzenberger, 70, recalled as a kid “if we were out on a bike ride and a chain broke, we figured out how to fix it. We might have even learned some negotiating skills in borrowing at a gas station.”

Once upon a time, parents “made a kid change a tire before getting a drivers license.”

“During World War II nine of 10 soldiers could fix a Jeep,” he pointed out. “Now half of 18-year-olds don’t have a drivers license and can’t change a flat tire.”

Instead, today’s kids “get a trophy for just showing up. If a kid doesn’t trip over his own feet, he gets an award.”

Forget the emphasis on going to college. America needs to “teach common sense,” he said. Kids shouldn’t get a trophy for just showing up.

Ratzenberger’s advice for STAFDA members? “Don’t vote for a politician who can’t assemble a coffee table from IKEA.”

Ratzenberger’s advice for today’s youth?

“Develop a skill that nobody can take from you.”

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