When my son Robert was still very young, he was fascinated with flashlights and batteries and how they worked. I remember him taking the essential parts of a small flashlight and using them to make his own working flashlight out of scrap pieces of wood and a lot of hot-melt glue.
I was astonished when I saw his creation. It showed remarkable creativity for such a young age. I made it a point to take the thing and I have it put away someplace safe. Someday when he is older, I’ll get it out and show him.
Since then, Robert has continued to come up with numerous homemade conveniences around our homestead. They are often crudely fashioned but they reveal a natural talent for hands-on creativity, resourcefulness, and problem solving.
One of his best ideas was an egg washer bucket which he came up with maybe five years ago. He told me of his idea to make the "bubble bucket" egg washer mechanism and I was astounded. Such egg washers already exist but we don't have one and have never seen one outside of a catalog. His inexpensive homemade version of a relatively expensive product was a fundamentally great idea, or so it seemed to me.
In fact, I got so excited about his idea that I dropped everything I was doing to "help him" with it. In the process of helping, I kind of took over the project. I saw it as another Whizbang idea that we could develop and maybe publish a little how-to manual about. We might end up doing that yet. But I really shouldn’t have barged into his project and “helped” so much. It would have been much better to offer advice as he asked for it and see what he came up with on his own. When it comes to being a father, I'm learning as I go.
Robert’s most recent idea was a snow plow for his four-wheeler. He conceived of the idea and took the initiative to just do it. I like that in a boy, especially my own boy. I came home from work one day last week and saw the plow all made. As with the homemade flashlight from so many years ago, I was surprised and pleased.
The frame is made of 2x lumber scraps. The blade is 1/8” HDPE plastic (another scrap). The blade can lock in the up or down position. And the whole thing works. Here is Robert plowing the back yard. The back yard does not need to be plowed, but he loves to push snow with his new contraption.
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