A Gathering Place For The Grandkids
The shop is becoming a regular gathering place for the grandkids when they visit. I always go through the emotions and thoughts of, “Not now – I have to get this project done.”
But once again, I relent and tell the kids, “You know where the stuff is, get it out. And you can set up over there on that end of the bench.” I shouldn’t be working on Sunday anyways – right?
The “stuff” includes the hammers, nails, glue gun, markers and what ever else they fancy to be a part of their project.
Don’t Be So Stingy!
While the kids were getting their supplies out, I was picking through the materials and came to a realization – Don’t Be So Stingy!
Recently, I went through a big shop organizational effort and had given away or burnt years of scraps that I had hoarded, each piece had been earmarked with the thought “I can use this someday…”
Some of it was highly figured wood, but to be honest, most of it was ordinary. Just like any other piece that I could find sitting on top of the bunk at my local wood supplier. So what was I holding on to it for?
I don’t have to go out of my way to accumulate scraps of wood in the shop, it is a naturally occurring phenomenon. Allowing the kids to come into the shop is a great way to cull out some of the material that tends to build up over time. I decided to override my hoarding instinct and let the kids use those pieces that, in reality, would be there 2 years from now if I did not share them.
The Empty Box Effect
You guys know what the empty box effect is right? It’s when you give the kids a gift and they find the empty box more fascinating than the toy itself.
Call me lazy, but I call it smart parenting (or grandparenting in my case) to take advantage of this. I don’t plan out anything that the kids have to build. I just provide the various shapes of wood and let the kids’ imagination take over.
There is plenty of skill and coordination being developed while they work on their project. And I like to think that by allowing them free expression, I am encouraging the next generation to be more creative and think outside the box. Perhaps I am raising the next generation of studio furniture artisans:)
Ultimately, I don’t really care if it is woodworking that they enjoy. For kids it is just about being creative, no matter what the medium is, and the shop is just one great big, ultimate craft room.
When I decided to let go of a piece of plywood, that had a curved shape on one edge, my grandson found a shark’s fin hiding within it. Now what good would it have done if I had kept that piece on the shelf?
Your friend in the shop – Todd A. Clippinger
Share the Love~Share the Knowledge
-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com