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Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Piece Of Furniture Known As The Television

Lessons Learned

Flying On The Wings Of Creativity


The first day of summer vacation could irrefutably be the most eagerly anticipated and longed for day on the calendar of all school children. In a word, freedom! My own boys were faithfully counting the minutes, starting weeks before the late winter snow had fully melted in the upper Midwest. On the eve of the day above all days, much discussion was occurring in my home among the boys as to exactly which television program might kick off the glorious three month hiatus. From my couldn’t help but listen post at the kitchen counter, I knew we could do better than this to usher in the summer, a beautiful season of different learning.  The woo hoo day arrived with torrential rain but none-the-less great jubilating joy. The race to the television was stopped in mid-step with the pronouncement that everyone needed to hop in the car. What? Why? Garage sale-ing. Ughhhh. Everyone gets five dollars to buy a broken appliance to take apart. It’s raining! All the better for a day at the workbench.  Garage sale hosts are exceptionally enthusiastic to have customers during a rain storm, so the deals were extremely good and it was clearly the peak season for broken appliances.  With three items and quite a lot of pocket change in our possession, we headed dripping wet to the basement workbench. Although the start was a bit slow with excitement in the project noticeably underwhelming, the momentum quickly picked up and soon tools were flying and the chatter of creativity was escalating in volume and speed. The project lasted hours, days, and weeks, and grew to include the neighbor kids who were already tired of watching television and much more interested in engaging their hands and ideas in the project. Early on, it was determined that all three appliances were completely unfixable, but by pooling all of the parts and adding this and that from various nooks and crannies in the basement, the garage, and the neighbors’ houses, a brand new idea emerged. The new idea led to drawings, plans, suggestions (only when asked) from engineer dad, and many phone calls (by the kids) to a variety of local gear shops. Fund raising efforts were organized to have money to order and purchase parts to continue work on the project.  The project was brilliantly and delightfully consuming and exhilarating and half of the summer whooshed by in a flurry of creativity before a calendar was ever noticed. Camps, family vacations, and assorted lessons punctuated the project efforts, but it all was good and fun and happy. In what seemed to be a snap, we were buying school supplies and shoes again readying for a new school year. Impossible. On the magnificent wings of creativity, the summer flew in the most joyful way hovering over the well-lit basement workbench, while the piece of furniture known as the television collected a good amount of dust.