Friday, December 1, 2023

Preface from "More Man Stuff: More Things a Young Man Needs to Know"

In 2001, the Explorers Club was established—a service club tailored for boys in grades 6 to 8 from the Chamberlain (South Dakota) Public School and St. Joseph’s Indian School. A cornerstone of the weekly meetings is a segment I call “Man Stuff.” During these sessions, we engage in discussions focused on life lessons—topics selected for their relevance to the young men and their potential impact on their journey to maturity.

In June 2020, I published Man Stuff: Things a Young Man Needs to Know which was a collection of some of these topics. My primary purpose in writing the book was to have something to present to the young men in 8th grade as they closed out their middle school years and moved on to high school.

I have been invited each year since organizing the Explorers Club to recognize them at their 8th grade Celebration and a book seemed like a good gift and reminder of the lessons we had discussed during their time in the club. I gave very little consideration for whether there would be a commercial market for such a book.

The response to “Man Stuff” has been profoundly humbling. From Explorers, parents, friends, and family, the outpouring of encouragement, appreciation, and book sales have been unexpectedly gratifying. The resonance extended far beyond expectations, with Amazon sales reflecting a continued demand.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Tools of the Trade

*Excerpted from Man Stuff: Things a Young Man Needs to Know by H. Douglas Knust

I never had decent tools until I was forty years old. I had a hand-me-down toolbox full of orphaned tools that I had accumulated over the years. Nothing matched. My 1/2” socket was from a different set than my 3/4” socket. My straight screwdriver was different than my Phillips screwdriver. Every job that required tools was frustrating because it seemed like I never had the right tool or because my tools were cheap, they’d break.

So, when I got a gift certificate for Lowe’s, I decided I was going to use it to finally upgrade my tools. I bought some high-quality tools. Since then, every home repair or handyman task is so much easier. I actually enjoy some of them!

Parents and grandparents always struggle to find a good gift for a young man. Young men aren’t very good at offering suggestions other than the latest video game or tech gadget, both of which are likely to be obsolete within a year.

Tools are a timeless gift or purchase that can be used again and again either to assist someone or to fix something for yourself. Maybe your love interest needs help assembling some furniture. What a great way to impress that important someone in your life - breaking out a set of quality tools to help her with the job!

Owning a well-equipped toolbox is something that many young men leave to their dads. Then when you have a project, you have to either borrow tools or enlist help. A man should be self-reliant. He should have the tools and know-how to tackle basic projects around the house.