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Radio Shack’s original and core customer used to be the young man who was a tinkerer: ham and shortwave radio operators, guys who hacked telephones and built their own stereo components and even some early computer builders.

Now kids are passively entertained with a cornucopia of electronic gadgets bought with mummy and daddy’s money and built in Asian factories. They would rather surf YouTube and Facebook then open up a Popular Mechanics magazine. They would rather make vine videos then make gadgets themselves.

Before the internet was available in the 90’s you did not watch Netflix for entertainment you took apart your Nintendo to see how it worked.

The guys who were interested in electronics did some impressive stuff. Some of you may remember Heathkits. You could build a powerful stereo system from their components for about half the cost of a store-bought version. These were very popular, and the guys who built them justifiably proud of their work. Some of the guys I knew who did this sort of thing went on to successful careers in computers and electronics.

Shop classes are electives. Vocational education like automotive, electronics and computers are guaranteed jobs yet college kids pick majors where no jobs are available.

Entertainment is a completely passive experience as well. Pride in something you built yourself has been replaced by pride in how far you’ve advanced in Angry Birds or Candy Crush.

If kids today don’t get exposed to hands-on activities in their teens, if they’re not forced by boredom or financial need to build stuff, it’s ‘highly unlikely they’ll seek out, or have the aptitude for the ultimate in hands-on careers.

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