The present that was a teaching opportunity

by Sandy L on December 26, 2010

Robot Art

Christmas was wonderful this year and it seems that  for the first time since the kids were born, I don’t feel like they were overwhelmed with presents.  They seem to have gotten just the right amount.

Both my boys got shortie wetsuits for the pool because they love the water but the Y gets really cold in the winter. It is well worth the $30. I just wish they made adult ones that were as inexpensive. My older son already had one that he out grew and I didn’t realize how much the younger one coveted his brother’s wetsuit until he got one of his own.  My little 2 year old spent nearly the whole day in his wetsuit until I finally coaxed it off him before his afternoon nap.

My husband gave me a bunch of socks and stuffed my stocking with them. I love practical gifts and he was especially glad the pun was not lost on me.  The best present of the bunch though is the robot that my 5 year old built for me.  My son loves building stuff and my husband is a wonderful teacher. They often go down the basement into the workshop and come out with various toys made out of scrap wood. In fact, they were both laughing at that new toy that’s out right now that “cuts like real wood” “nails like real wood” I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials. How about you just use real wood?

Anyway, in the days leading up to Christmas, we had the most fun. I was banned from the basement and I had no idea what they were building down there but I could hear all kinds of clanking noises.  The robot  was my son’s original design and he laid out the pieces exactly as you see them.  In addition to being impressed at the workmanship, I joked that I could sell him at the scrapyard for at least $10.  Yes, this gift will retain it’s value indefinitely.


Of the things that make me the most proud  is there are a million ways to foster the thirst for knowledge and learning in our young ones. I’m confident that one day my kids won’t be afraid to pick up a hammer and build something even if they don’t know exactly how.  I want them to have the confidence to know that they can figure anything out, even if it requires a little trial and error. The most handy people I know have had mentors in their father or grandfather tinkering in some basement or garage somewhere.  I hope that this past time continues with my own children and so far, so good.

My kids also love to help with cooking and baking and although they make an absolute mess, I hope that I never stop hearing the plea of  “I want to help!”   I also hope that I never am too busy to allow for a little extra time to take advantage of a learning experience.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a kid that doesn’t want to be involved in adult activities from a very early age. They want to feel like they can do things on their own and it’s our job to make sure that the thirst for learning does not get extinguished by our cries of “you’re making a mess”, “you’re too young”, or “I don’t have time for your help right now.”  Hopefully, my kids will eventually start making dinner without my help, so it’s worth my investment now.  I also don’t want to raise a couple of mama’s boys, so that’s one of my ulterior motives.  I wonder at what age I can start making them do laundry. Now that’s a chore I would love to delegate.

What is your favorite teaching memory with a child?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole December 26, 2010 at 10:07 AM

Aww! That is adorable! My DC’s mileau is currently cardboard. 🙂

ITA about doing chores together. By age 7 I could cook a meal and iron a pair of pants (shirts probably not until age 9). My mom was kind of controlling about laundry (other than folding it which we all did as long as I can remember, and which we started DC helping with age 3 or so), but I bet age 7 can start, as long as you don’t mind the occasional load of pink socks.


Molly On Money December 27, 2010 at 6:10 PM

My daughter just had a sleep over. We were talking about chores and two of the kids chimed up to say they don’t have any. I felt bad for them! I remember spending a summer on our roof helping my Dad re-shingle the entire roof (I was about 9). He was always so great about showing me how to build things. In contrast my Grandfather who was a woodworker would never allow me in his shop (my brother was always welcome…grrrr..his loss!).
I financed my art career by working as a welder in my twenties and now have a career construction. I have my Dad to thank for teaching me how to be comfortable using power tools at a young age.


Dionne Baldwin January 2, 2011 at 7:16 PM

I LOVE that robot. I bet you just adore that present! When my brother was 5, he nailed some small pieces of wood together and nailed 3 nails far enough into the wood so that they were stable. He gave it to me for a present. It’s a necklace holder. I still have it and he’s 26 years old now. I love thoughtful presents like that!

I think it’s awesome when the kiddos get to help out, especially in the kitchen. My daughter loves to cook and bake and hopefully she will always love helping in the kitchen. She’s such a huge help that she is constantly asking what she can do. I am counting my blessings because I am told this will change…I’ll enjoy it white it lasts! 🙂


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