YouTube has taught millions around the world how to do certain things — tie a necktie, build a rock wall, change a flat tire.
“I learned to saddle my horse using YouTube,” one North Shore, Massachusetts, woman told LifeZette. “No one was around to show me how, and I was anxious to ride, so I pulled up a video and followed the instructions. It worked — the saddle stayed on the horse, and off we went.”
“I was in several situations that made me feel smaller than ever, like domestic violence and being stalked by a man with a mental illness, so my goals and my future stayed small, too.”
But is it possible to build a whole house using YouTube? The short answer — yes.
In 2008, Cara Brookins of Little Rock, Arkansas, was dealing with the end of an abusive marriage and trying to evade a mentally ill stalker. With no home and four kids dependent on her, she was desperate. So she decided to build her own house with her own two hands — and some advice from several Home Depot employees and hundreds of YouTube “how to” videos.
“After I grew up and had four kids of my own, I should have built big things, but I was in several situations that made me feel smaller than ever, like domestic violence and being stalked by a man with a mental illness, so my goals and my future stayed small, too,” Brookins wrote on her website.
“My kids were 17, 15, 11, and 2, and they had been knocked down so many times that they needed something big as badly as I did,” she added.
Brookins took out a small bank loan and bought an acre of land. She and the kids got to work — laying bricks, nailing lumber into a frame, and even installing counters — all with instruction from videos.
The result of their sweat equity? A five-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house with a three-car garage (and a two-story treehouse).
The building of their own home with their own hands offered something more to this struggling family — a renewed family spirit.
As this determined mom noted on her website: “While our toes nearly froze off as we mixed concrete in a wheelbarrow, our back muscles ached from hauling two-by-fours, and we sweated and itched our way through fiberglass insulation — we also rebuilt our broken family.”
“Make a big change. What will you build?”
Brookins has chronicled the family’s homebuilding journey in a new memoir, “Rise: How A House Built a Family,” due out Jan. 24.
Her story offers hope for others in seemingly insurmountable circumstances.
“We did what everyone said was impossible,” she says in a video posted on her website. “What’s holding you back? Forget everything you’ve been told about taking baby steps, because if you want to achieve great things, start with a step so big, so impossible, that it forever changes who you are … Find your big step. Make a big change. What will you build?”