Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lowes Build and Grow Project

Today we went over to Lowes to participate in the twice monthly Build and Grow Program. The Things had a great time, even though it was pretty crowded.
What I found most interesting was the different types of parenting styles that were present. There is the overly involved parent, the parent that did it all, the parent in the corner on their blackberry, and hopefully us, the ones in the middle, helping with the directions, but having the kid do the project.
Let me note, it isn’t like we don’t have faults as parents, big ones. I threaten my kids far too often to coerce them to behave, we all talk way to loud in public, and generally I swear like a sailor kids around or not.
Lets start with the let me do this for you mom next to me, I will call her the Star Bellied Sneech. The Star Bellied Sneech kept all the tools on her side of the work space, she read the directions and handled all the material while she had a conversation with her little Sneech. She multiple times told her Sneech to make sure he didn’t loose the nails, while she was busy nailing the project together. At the end of the project, she loudly stated what a great job he did with his project, while looking at me like we were now locked together in a secret world where her son actually did the project. When they left she asked for an extra project, apparently her ‘son’ had somehow hammered through the side of the plywood with a nail.
On the other side of me was Yurtle the Turtle. He let his daughter do the project, but god forbid she do something without first consulting him and then doing it his way and his way only. She had to repeat back the instructions, line up the nails precisely, let him review the work and then she could proceed. At one point his little turtle incorrectly hammered the nail in and he took the project apart and the process restarted. Honestly, this wasn’t an outrageous method; it just seemed really tedious and not very much fun. The project was completed and both Yurtle and his little Turtle departed, the little turtle seemed more excited by the patch than the project.
The Seussisms are ending here, I can’t think of anything witty for Blackberry dad. The guy sat off on the side for a hour while his kids, looking about 10 and 5 tried to figure and puzzle their way through the project. The parents near by helped, and defiantly the older helped the younger, but I hope this dad wasn’t thinking this was quality dad time. The kids at one point were tugging on his sweater to get his attention and he was far to engrossed to assist. There are a lot of possible reasons for this, the chief being there may have been a work issue that he had to deal with and at least the kids got to participate in the project instead of staying home in front of the tv, also a family issue could have been occurring. Ultimately though, to the parents two down from me who were not only helping their three build the project, but his two, it had to have been a bit bothersome.
Now for us or at least the interpretation of us I want to believe. I helped more than I should have, I read the directions and Thing One is capable. I aligned the nails, and pulled them out for them when then went in at the wrong angles. When Thing One ‘got tired’ I didn’t give in and made her keep at it until she hammered her finger, then I hammered the nail in the rest of the way, on only that one nail. Neither kid made the prettiest, cleanest looking pinball thing, but they did make them themselves and were excited by thier project, they are playing with them right now. I think both Things got tired of the directive to hold the hammer farther down, but nothing is perfect.
I realized as a parent that I did do one thing well today, I trusted The Things. At multiple points in the project the Things started to get frustrated and I held the project for them while they hammered. Let me say this again, I held the project steady while they hammered near MY FINGERS. I never said, don’t hammer me, but when they finished I always praised them for doing such a great job, and said a quiet blessing I was not cussing in pain. Today The Things learned they can hammer a nail, and finish a project with a little help, and I learned it is always best to give them a little trust without comment and see what happens.

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