I do not want to assume that the characteristics that my children display at such a young age define who they will be as adults. However, my first born son has certain qualities that I would be surprised if he didn’t carry them into his adult years. He has always loved to work with his hands. He got his first tool set when he turned three, and we hesitated because they were real tools, just miniature. By the time he was five he was using Neil’s tools, never mind the miniatures. Neighbors walk by and see our boy in the garage with a power drill and they slowly offer, “Your son… has a… drill…” We know. Yes, we let him.
I wonder sometimes if we ruined him for toys. He doesn’t play with toys much. Who would want to build a Lego castle when you can build one out of wood in the garage? Don’t get me wrong, he does play and build things indoors with his brothers, but he is always thinking and planning his next project. I found a notebook labeled “My Invention Book.” The first drawing was a machine, complete with remote control, that makes your bed. I could use that.
His number one frustration is not having the parts he needs to make the things that are floating in his head, so this week we let him take a part a few things in order to accumulate motors and gears and whatnot. And also because he is entertained for hours on end with a screwdriver in his hand. He took apart an old remote control car, the game “Operation”, an old blender, and a television.
I am not sure what he is learning or how it benefits him exactly to see the insides of electronic gadgets. What I am sure about is how absolutely happy he is while doing so. And how quiet the house is.
Tonight Neil and I were working on a project in the garage, and I asked him if he thought home renovation would be part of new creation. He told me that he thought that art and carpentry and design would be. And I thought of Jeremiah, who moments earlier had exclaimed, “Isn’t it wonderful to wake up in the morning and have a clean workshop!?” And I thought that for such a young boy, to have this joy, this gift, running through his veins… yes, I would be very surprised if he didn’t carry it into adulthood. Or maybe it will carry him.