A Message From Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, July 2017

We need people who are willing to share what they have learned.

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI President

By the time you read this, Independence Day will have come and gone. I hope you paused to give thanks to our forefathers for giving us our freedom and to those brave men and women who have given so much so that we can still walk freely in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

What is independence? It means different things to different people. It could mean having the freedom to practice our religion; or if we do not believe in a higher power, we have that right also. To some, independence is being able to work at a trade unimpeded by an authority telling them what they can and cannot do. We who are independent horologists can apply our craft and serve the public to the best of our ability. We got this way by hard work, training, and using our God-given talents. Some are born with the talent to do what we do. Others who are not so talented have a desire to learn and work hard to become good at what we do.

Several years ago, I was watching a local high school football team work on their drills on a very hot day. The coach called the team together and told them, “Hustle, make up for the lack of talent. Some of you will not make the team. Some who have more talent than others will not make the team. But those of you who are willing to put in the work, the blood, the sweat, and the tears that it takes to be champion will make this team.” They had a winning season.

My point is you may not be the best at what you do now. But if you take classes, practice, and take on a project that taxes your ability, you will grow. We at AWCI are all about education and certification. In Horological Times, we need more well-written articles about how to do a project and tips on better ways to do things. If you have ideas, you should feel free to come forth with your ideas without the fear of ridicule. We need people who are willing to share what they have learned. We all have experiences that should be shared, from the most senior to the beginner.

Ancient watchmaking and clockmaking started in a guild setting, where people learned through apprenticeships. You worked as an apprentice for several years under a master who taught you the trade before you too could become a master. This may or may not have been a good way to learn the trade, depending on the temperament of the master. Today we need to implement the mentoring program. There is a move in our country to implement such programs in the high schools for many of the crafts, such as auto mechanics, carpentry, plumbing, and others. We at AWCI should look into how we can get in on this type of program. The people who go through such a program come out with a trade and are not in debt. I was told when I served my apprenticeship that if you had a trade, there would always be work to do, in the good and the bad times.