The boys are Cub Scouts. Some people love the scouts, others revile them. Me? I’ve seen what good the Boy Scouts did for my brother and I’m a supporter. I do not like their politics (I’m as liberal as they come), but I think my parenting has considerably more sway over my kids than an organization, so let’s just leave it at that.
Today I took the boys to a Pinewood Derby prep afternoon. The derby is in a few weeks, and a dad with a workshop opened it up for the pack to come in and get their cars ready for racing. There were only a few boys there, so I had plenty of opportunity to work on the boys’ cars.
Yes. Me. Power tools were involved, the boys (all of them) quickly got bored waiting, and everyone in the house was happier with the kids entertaining themselves as the parents power-tooled their way to 5.0 ounces of racing weight.
And I discovered something. There’s always been a lot of “commentary” about how the parents build the cars instead of the kids. Well, besides the whole power tool thing, I had another thought.
Working on the cars gave us permission to play. It’s for our kids! We must drill and sand and weigh! We’re not doing it for us, it’s for our kids! It’s permission for us to play. I loved wood shop in school. Ok, middle school, but I loved it nonetheless. I still have a few things I built there, including a kick-ass clock that I’d still use if I could find a clock mechanism that would work. But I loved working with my hands, seeing what I could create with scraps of wood. The smell of sawdust, the roar of power tools…loved it then, love it now.
I don’t take enough time to create for me. Playing with my hands today for my sons brought that home to me. I wish there was somewhere I could go play with power tools. Plenty of places to knit, to scrapbook, to craft…but nowhere to learn DIY home repair or play with power tools. Why I don’t just go create without concern for my boys is beyond me.
So remember that when the Pinewood Derby comes up and the cars look like they couldn’t possibly be created by 10-year-olds. Because they probably had a great deal of adult help. Not just because a 10-year-old is an ER visit waiting to happen, but because it gave the adults permission to play.