I believe in fostering my child’s passion.
When my son was two he had developed a fascination with electrical things. He would sit and watch the fan on the slides at Crazy Bounce when all the other kids jumped, climbed, and played inside. I would try to drag him away and try to force him to have fun. He would point out every light, outlet, and appliance everywhere we went and I would point out the cars, balls, and action figures.
By the time he was four he had taken apart his first stereo- so anxious to see what was inside. Within a week he had disabled grandma’s old vacuum, a telephone, and a pile of his unused toys. As he tediously worked, I got lots of things done. It’s just a phase I thought. He’s so curious. When he starts school he will loose interest and start finding some other hobbies.
He began bombarding me with questions. What is this little piece for? Why does it have different colored wires? Why do these have different numbers on them? What will happen if I take this thing off? When I realized the questions wouldn’t stop, I stopped at the local hobby store and bought a build your own circuit set.
During spring break, I got out the manual and the 132 piece set. As I flipped through the book, I was excited to see that all my son’s questions would soon be answered. We spent two hours inserting wires, learning about each component of the set, and sharing a moment that changed my life. We had completed the set and had made a circuit that would replicate a street light. Together we had rushed to the closet to see if our photocell would work. In awe we had sat in the closet admiring our little light. Hand in hand, I realized my job as a mom was to help foster that little light in my child.
When I was growing up, I remember my dad’s silent disappointment that I was going to school to be a teacher. His little valedictorian could be a lawyer, a doctor, or a business owner. He never insisted that I change my career path, but he seized any opportunity he could get to point out the benefits of various other careers. Now I know that my dad just wanted the very best for his precious little girl. What he thought would make me happy was based on his pursuit of happiness in life- not my passion.
I no longer try to persuade my son to play Legos, soccer, or Candy Land. Instead I marvel with him at the large capacitor he found in my old computer. I inquire all about his water softener, complete with parts from an array of appliances. I make videos of his electrical endeavors and we show them to whoever stops by. Wherever his passions lead him in life, I want him to feel encouraged and supported by me.