When a five-year-old faces a Terrorist on the street, what does she do?
She calls for "Fix-It G-Ma," Sentinel of Fix-It Vigilance.
Five-year-old Sarah is threatened by a sharp piece of metal on a New York
City sidewalk, extruding from the railing of an apartment. To
protect her and other children, G-Ma Lori comes to the rescue with her
Pliers of Vigilance, twisting the sharp Terror Shard into submissiveness,
freeing the land once more for the Children's Children's Children.
What lesson does this provide? It reminds Sarah, and all little
girls, that being a "Fix-It Gal" is an act of Vigilance, something that
provides her with Courage, Conviction and the ability to take the Right
Actions. Are you a Fix-It Gal? Can you turn
adversity into advantage? Or, are you a victim of "Can't
Fix-It Terrorism?" Find out why you should be a Fix-It Gal,
and teach others how to be the same.
THE FIX-IT GALS
“G-MA, Shalala’s head came off agin’, and her
tail is loose. Will you help me glue her?” Sarah, waved the two pieces
of her favorite dinosaur, a Pachycephalosaurus, to emphasize the
Shalala lost her
head and needs a fix-it gal ASAP
I glued Shalala’s tail and
head together too many times to count. The dinosaur’s long, curving neck
and slender tail made her susceptible to breakage, especially since in the
last two months Sarah’s 11- month - old brother, Angus, learned to walk
and grab. Angus chose poor Shalala as his balance partner. He clutched
her precariously as he waddled around his small apartment, weaving here
and there like a bumper car in a tiny rink, banging the dinosaur on every
solid object with which he made contact as though it were a blind baby’s
“You bet, little one. I’ll put her up on the tippy top shelf of
your bookcase until I have time to fix it.” I gently took Shalala along
with her detached head and tail, climbed up on a chair and placed them on
the highest bookshelf. This was the special “fix it” spot where anything
needing repair was parked.
“G-Ma, you and mommy are the best ‘fix-it gals’ in the world. You
just fix and fix and fix! I’m going to be a ‘fix-it gal’ too.” Sarah
gave me one of her oh-so-special-Sarah squeezes that makes your heart melt
and the sun shine even if it’s a dark, rainy day.
“You surely, are, little ‘fix-it-gal’. You already are one. Let’s
see…. you’ve helped fix a few things already. Hmmmmmm……..” I sat
down on the couch with my ‘pearl of a girl’ and we both smiled at each
An example of
sharp and dangerous edge on the black fence needing services of a
simultaneously we grabbed each other’s hands and yelled, “the black
fence.” We were not only grandmother and granddaughter, but also
partners, buddies and pals. I deferred to Sarah’s memory. She was
thinking of the same projects in which she had participated as a “fix-it”
girl. I loved listening to her tell her side of any story.
Fix-it gal, Sarah,
‘Member the time you let me use your special long and nosy pliers to bend
the sharp and so v-e-e-r-r-r-y dangerous part of the black fence
near my school. You carried your pliers around in your purse to my school
for lots of days and finally remembered you had them. I’m
so-o-o-o-o glad we fixed that silly fence ‘cuz he was going
to scratch me. Now I can squeeze into my special spot without bleeding.”
Sarah cocked her head and shrugged smiling at me, her histrionic way of
ending sentences these days as she approached her fifth birthday. I was
sure she would one day be an actress or public speaker, for she had a
riveting way of making her point to all who listened.
“Yes, I did forget to bring my long-nosed special pliers and
I was certain that mean old fence was going to hurt you when you squeezed
your precious self into the curly part of it. And I’m glad I remembered.”
Sarah readjusted herself on my lap, her big brown eyes looking
deep into me. I continued, “You know, dear one, the fence is an ‘it’.
Not a ‘he’.” Sarah is continually waging a small ongoing battle with the
opposite sex, and any time she can make the “bad guy” a guy, she does.
gal Sarah applying glue to her dinosaur
“Right, G-Ma. Maybe
now we can bring some black paint and paint the fence too.” Her chocolate
chip cookie-sized eyes sparkled as she expanded on the project.
“Oh, no you don’t, you rascal. G-Ma’s not painting anyone else’s
property. We probably shouldn’t have monkied around with fixing another’s
fence. But it was easier to fix it ourselves than contact the owner of
the building to do it. Remember G-Ma’s special saying, ‘If you want it
done right away …..’”
“…do it yourself…” Sarah stridently chimed in the ending, tossing
her head as she did to emphasize her glee.
When Sarah was learning the alphabet, almost every time I walked her
to and from pre-school during her first year, I would very precisely and
loudly call out a letter. She would repeat the letter after me in the
same manner. Now, as a result, whenever she talks in public, her Voice
booms as though she were on a stage projecting to the last row. Her
projection is somewhat of a concern to her parents, so solicitous to
everyone’s privacy. Sarah invades their audio privacy with her New York
street phonetics. I’m a peahen, unbothered and extremely proud of my
little parrot’s diction and vocabulary. Sarah will be heard by all
whenever she speaks up in life. I’ve “fixed it” that way.
We sat on the cozy futon couch. When we share our adventures, we
are comfortable with one another and any unusual silence existing between
us. It’s as though we are both plotting the next adventure. I knew the
quiet wouldn’t last since my huggable bird is an active and noisy
creature. True to keeping, she burst out of my hug like a beautiful
flower bud exploding into bloom. Her sun-streaked hair flew around her
neck like the sun’s rays spearing through rain clouds as she tipped her
head backwards and performed her latest gymnastic move, a backbend, taking
up a good portion of the small living room’s limited tumbling space.
“Look at this, G-Ma. I did it ‘per-fect-ly’, perfectly,
PERFECTLY!.” Sarah repeated the word emphatically to impress me. She
knows which strings to pluck to make her G-Ma’s heart strings sing.
Sarah on the bars
with an audience
“I see, Sarah. I
love the way you taught your brother some of the great gym moves you
learned in your class at Chelsea Piers. You are a fine teacher.” I
emphasized the vowels and consonants, my way of modeling enunciation for
Sarah showed her almost seven-year-old brother, Matt, how to
correctly perform forward and backward somersaults. She included a
difficult ‘almost headstand’ and how to climb and swing on the monkey bars
at the park. He hasn’t yet mastered copying her beautifully performed
back bend, the one gymnastic movement I was able to perform with alacrity
when I was her age.
As I finished the words, “You are a fine teacher,” Sarah swirled
about and faced me, putting her hands on her hips to admonish me.
“No, G-Ma, you are the teacher. You taught Mommy to
be a ‘fix-it gal’ and you are teaching me to be one. And I’ll teach my
girls to be one, too.” Sarah sat cross-legged on the floor and gave me
the thumbs up. Again, she struck the right string and I felt angel’s
wings growing on my back.
She deftly jumped up and started spinning around the room singing
“Fix-it it gals, fixit gals, we are the fixit gals……”
Laughing, I joined her. We held hands and carefully twirled about
the small room so we wouldn’t knock into anything. We were partners in
clumsiness, the result of our eagerness to celebrate and experiment.
Sarah sported bruises up and down her long legs. When I was her age, I
shared the same ‘battle scars’ from taking life on. She, like I, was
fearless to attempt just about any physical act.
The apartment door crashed open and the dynamic duo—Sarah’s two
brothers—Matt and Angus, burst through and squelched our fix-it gal
“Hey, guys, keep it down,” admonished their fun-loving mom who was
quick on their heels.
“G-Ma, the parachute on my Rescue Hero broke. Can you fix it?
Now? Angus grabbed it from me and I want to rescue the rescuer. Get it,
Matt is so much like his Daddy – clever, with quick humorous quips.
He is continually rewording phrases and rethinking old jokes to come up
with new, funny ones. As Sarah is fearless about exploring the physical
world, Matt is just as fearless when it comes to words and phrases.
Is the fix-it gene
I just finished
reading “What Makes You Who You Are” in the June 2, 2003 Time
Magazine. The crux of the article is really ‘the same old, same old’;
i.e. that genes and experience interact for one’s whole life. However, I
did learn that Matt’s promoter gene (that he received from his daddy) was
most likely turned on in the womb and plussed by his environment. Genes
are both the cause and the consequence of his (and our) actions, the
article claims. His mom and dad enjoy humor and encourage Matt’s funny
jokes. So he continues to get validation from them and other family
members (like his G-Ma and G-Pa who value the quickness of mind to that of
hand and foot.).
The article in Time made me ponder the differences between brother
and sister. Matt’s disinterest in ‘fixing’ things and Sarah’s distinct
interest could be genetic as well I mulled. However, in fairness to Matt
and Sarah’s daddy, Daddy J wasn’t ‘given the tools’ or perhaps shown the
best fix-it techniques as he was growing up. In New York City, where
their father was raised, building superintendents made all the repairs.
In contrast, their mommy was raised in a ‘do it yourself’ house. Mommy
S’s parents (G-Pa and myself) imparted the handiwork on to her.
Subsequently she has become an incredible fix-it gal and mom.
She’s even a builder and has constructed bookcases and shelves for
the apartment. In her teenage years, she went to Mexico and helped build
houses for the poor, from pouring the concrete to framing and roofing.
While the guys were drinking beer, she was sawing and nailing.
In New York, when she decided to build special bookshelves, she
searched the lumber stores for the best deals and brought home all the
supplies on foot. In the City, this is no small task. I remember the
excitement hauling home building materials piled on Matt’s stroller, who
was a toddler at the time. Matt pretended the largest slab of wood was
the wing section of his stroller-turned-airplane. We had a wild time
maneuvering through the thick hoards of New York City pedestrian traffic.
Matt in his unwieldy vehicle careened through the crowds shouting “Faster!
Faster mommy!” like a General Patton commando demanding his tanks move
faster to save Bastogne.
It seems as if my older daughter constructs a new addition to the
apartment whenever there is a new child added to her family. The latest
construction project is a large (8 feet high, 30 inches wide and 18 inches
deep) structure to hold all the family games. It was on this project,
completed when Angus was born, that Sarah learned how to use the electric
drill under careful supervision, of her hammer-and-nail oriented mother.
As Matt and Angus flooded into the room, Sarah was quick to remind
him who was in charge of fixing dinosaurs.
“Matt, G-Ma is fixing Shalala first. G-Ma will put your ‘chute up on
the bookcase in her fix-it place,” she spouted. Sarah marched officiously
toward Matt to extract Perry Chute from him and hand it to me.
“Arghhh, S-a-r-a-h, don’t grab. I will give it to G-Ma. Don’t be
bossing me around.” Matt yanked his Fisher Price Rescue Hero out of
Sarah’s grasp, bruising her ego and quashing her
Sarah became a
nagging, squawking magpie
“Mommy, Matt pushed me.” Sarah
resents the intrusion of her brothers into her ‘girls rule’ sessions.
This was one of those times. She was no longer was my sweet little bird,
but had morphed into a squawking, nagging magpie, fluttering noisily
about, ready to peck her big brother’s eyes out if he refused. A woman
Around the tiny kitchen, encumbered by Angus in the stroller, the two
wrestled for the toy with the broken parachute.
“Enough,” their mommy exploded with restrained, yet firm emphasis.
She removed the damaged item from Sarah’s toy-napping fingers and handed
it to me. “Grabbing and pushing are not options in this apartment, or
anywhere. You two know that. Sarah, apologize to Matt for grabbing his
toy. Matt you tell Sarah you are sorry as well.”
Quick to soothe ruffled feathers, Sarah grabbed my hand for
support. “We fix-it gals will patch your parachute, Matt. G-Ma will let
me help her.” Then, just as quick to shove a sharp burr under Matt’s
saddle, she added: “I’m learning how to be a good fix-it gal. Only
girls can be fix-it gals. So there…”
“Hey, hey, hey,” interjected Mommy S, “boys can fix things, too.
G-Pa is a handyman when it comes to plumbing. We can thank him for
fixing lots of things….putting in our air conditioner, fixing the futon,
waxing our floors, fixing your bike tires. Lots of things. So there are
handymen and fix-it gals.”
“But, mommy, you made the bookcases in our apartment, and you know
how to use the ‘lectric drill. You are the fix-it person in our
apartment! You are the fixer. Not Daddy. Girls fix things, not boys.”
“Daddy would fix anything I ask him to. Just like G-Pa fixes stuff
G-Ma can’t and uses his special Gorilla Glue, he can fix anything she
wants him to fix. Daddy and I are a team. G-Ma and G-Pa are a team. I
learned how to fix things from G-Ma and enjoy being a fixer. She loves to
fix lots of things from shoes, toys, furniture, and so on just like me.
You may live alone sometime in the future and will need to know how to be
a fix-it person. It’s a good thing to know how to use tools. We are fix-it
gals and you will be one too. Sarah, you are learning how and already are
a fixer-apprentice, learner. I’m pleased you want to join our fixit gal
club. Matt, and Angus when he is older, can be handymen too if they want
to learn how.”
I thought about what my daughter was saying. Women are not just
hanging pictures in today’s world. Possibly it’s due to the availability
of hand tools and the fact that many women live alone and are learning to
be more self sufficient. Recently, I saw a news report on how tool
manufacturers were making hammers and other construction tools to fit
women’s hands, not just men’s. |
Women are tackling big jobs as well. I was curious after Sarah’s
‘fix-it questions, etc and I ‘googled’ (www.google.com
) fix-it gals. I was pleased that several web sites offered tools as
Mother’s Day gifts.
“The hottest Mother’s Day gift this year is
not roses, candy or even breakfast in bed. It’s a cordless drill
straight from the domain of tool-belted dads.”
I learned that women increasingly are at least
as interested in tackling home improvement projects as they are in getting
pampered or receiving yet another household appliance.
More women are taking power tools seriously. Both adult schools and
home centers report that female attendance at fix-it and remodeling
seminars are soaring. Last Mother’s Day Amazon’s hardware site sold
nearly as many power tools as it did for Father’s Day.
A study, conducted by Home Depot showed home
improvement is a cool hobby for women. An amazing 37% said they would
rather do home improvements than go to the malls (28%) or cook (25%).
Fifty-four percent of women vs. 51% men said they are currently undertaking
some home improvement project.
Manufacturers are well aware of the trend, so
they are redesigning some tools for women and marketing them differently.
Tools with gender
based design: Black & Decker
Power comes in
smaller packages: Black & Decker
Ryobi Tools gives careful attention to
“ergonomic design.” Tools are designed with various weights, capacities
and handle sizes. Many including their 6-volt drill work very well for
women as well as for men with smaller hand sizes.
Some companies also design tool handles with rubber grips like those
found on kitchen utensils.
Spike Carlsen, editor of Family Handyman Magazine, reports an
increase in questions from women in the expert advice column. He says
“women install ceramic tile, sheetrock, windows and ceiling fans. They
fix things all through the house. They even dabble in electrical work and
build furniture and additions.”
Women are tackling
big jobs too
Ryobi Tools gives
careful attention to "ergonomic design"
Carlsen feels that television shows featuring
women showing how to repair and improve things in the house have triggered
the trend towards women getting into power tools. “They see an attractive
woman, who is also very capable with tools, and it registers. As they
succeed at doing this and that, they show off to their friends, who then
decide to try their own skills.”
I found it very interesting to read about Virginia’s Correctional
Center for Women. At VCCW vocational training programs are offered to
women. There is an apprenticeship program that offers training in
carpentry, electrical, plumbing and general maintenance. These programs
are in addition to training in the business field and computer field. If
the prison world sees a need for fixit training, the rest of the world
shouldn’t be far behind.
Correction Center for Women is Vigilant in offering a great variety of
training programs for women
Parents and other caretakers can be Vigilant
Fixers by introducing their children to the ‘fix-it world’. When Sarah’s
Auntie ‘E’ lived in Japan for two years, she related she was intrigued
with the Japanese practice of dumping items that were broken in the
trash. Apparently, the people in the cities in which she lived, had no
training in repair nor did city business (she never saw a repair shop).
I found after working with Sarah and teaching her ‘how
to’ fix things had many benefits. It not only teaches a child to repair
items, but also emphasizes to youngsters that when something breaks, it is
not the practice to discard it and purchase a new replacement. It
teaches a child not only the value of an item, and its ability to be
recycled, but also how to be more careful with items. I realized that
children need not become Complacent regarding their toys, or other objects
in their houses, schools, neighbors’ goods. By repairing things, they
learn respect for material things along with the respect for people.
"fix-it gene" in girls helps girls to use the tools they've been given
As well as pride in a job
well done, there are great practicalities forthcoming when a child becomes
a fix-it gal or fix-it guy. The children can use the fixit techniques for
the rest of their lives. A girl, like little Sarah, doesn’t have to be
Complacent regarding her female nature and wait for a ‘guy to fix
things’. Sparking the “fix-it gene” in girls helps removes the Fear of
fixing things and boosts the Courage to use the tools they’ve been
given. The Terror of Intimidation is fading on the horizon also. Today,
a girl is no longer Intimidated by the “man’s world” tools.
Manufacturers are making “female-friendly” tools and society as whole
embraces that a woman loses no sense of her feminine power by picking up a
hammer and swinging it at nails. This Conviction over Intimidation
drives away the Terror of Intimidation.
But the big Vigilant Factor is erasing Complacency. Terrorism’s
greatest weapon is Complacency, that sense of powerless over anything.
When it comes to being a “fix-it gal,” a woman who thinks she “can’t do
it,” falls into the arena of giving up her power, of being “victimized” in
a man’s world. It’s like saying we can’t fight tyranny or oppression
because it’s “none of our business.” Worldwide, Terrorism is everybody’s
business, especially when Weapons of Mass Destruction can be used to maim
and kill the innocent. At that point, the power of a man or woman to
stand up and fight for the protection of the Children’s Children’s
Children is mandatory.
Learning to be a
"fix-it gal" is like learning to be a Sentinel of Vigilance
Learning how to be a
“fix-it gal” is like learning to be a Sentinel of Vigilance. Taking the
“can-do” attitude shoves Complacency out the door. But, even more
importantly, the Vigilant woman realizes how important it is to pass on to
children, both girls and boys, how to fix things and not be at the mercy
of the world of broken items. A fix-it person has more confidence, and
adds value to the world by being more independent. I saw the trend of
“fixit gals” as a means to teach future generations to take more Right
Actions against the Terrorism of Complacency—just another way to build the
strength of character it will take in the future to stand up to all who
threaten our security.
Several days ago, while I was taking Sarah to school, a man handed
me his business card. It read “Quick Draw McGraw – No Job To Big Or
Small.” I showed it to Sarah who is learning how to read. She deciphered
the second part.
“G-Ma, we don’t need McGraw. We are fixit gals and can do our own
“I bent down over the brightly colored stroller with its handles
lengthened by fix-it G-Pa for easier pushing, and hugged my eager little
bird. “You are so right, my fix-it gal pal. Let’s sing our special fix-it
song together the rest of the way to school.”
“We are the fix-it gals, that is our name.
We fix most anything from toys to the drain. Just tell us what is wrong………
and we will fixit with a song.” Chorus
“Shalala, Shalala has lost her head and
“G-Ma and Sarah will fixit with a
“The feather is gone from my purple frau-frau shoe.” Sarah
“G-Ma and Sarah will fixit with some glue.”
“We are the fix-it gals, that is our name. We fix most anything
from toys to the drain. Just tell us what is wrong………and we will fix-it
with a song.” Chorus
“Fix-it, fix-it, fix-it gals. Hooray, fix-it
Sarah’s unwavering, clear Voice caused many a head to turn and
ears to listen. Perhaps, I thought, our vigilant message will act as a
small dab of glue cementing the idea that no one ever has to be a victim
of anything if one is a fix-it gal or fix-it guy.
Even broken hearts, I thought, could be fixed, if one knew how to
Broken dreams could be repaired.
A "fix-it kid"
knows how to recover after a disaster
Yes, a fix-it gal or fix-it guy would know how to put himself or
herself back together after any emotional or physical disaster.
This would mean the Beast of Terror who likes to prey on the
wounded would not have anyone to attack, for fix-it people would be his
worst enemy. No matter how much he tried to break them apart with Fear,
Intimidation or Complacency, the fix-it boy or girl could glue themselves
back together with Courage, Conviction and Right Action for the Children’s
Yes, I thought, if the world was full of fix-it gals and guys, the
Beast of Terror would be nailed to the wall or forever stuck there with
But, for the moment, my priority was a broken dinosaur. The
Beast would have to wait.
To Sophia Wisdom 25 - "Water-Proofing the Children's
- 2004, VigilanceVoice.com, All rights reserved - a ((HYYPE))