Monday, May 20, 2013

Engineer in the Making

Nate did something remarkable this weekend.

A rolling compost bin I had ordered for Cody's birthday was delivered.  Cody pulled the heavy box into the living room, opened it, and took out a few pieces.  But it was late at night, so he stopped there and just left it sitting to put together later.  The next morning Nate found the pieces and became suddenly interested in putting it together.  He started working on the metal frame, the pieces Cody had taken out of the box.  He didn't get to work long because it was time to go to church.

On the way home from church Nate asked Cody if he could put the composter together that afternoon.  Cody said it was fine but that he was going to be working in the yard and would not be able to help him at all.  Nate was okay with that.

I wasn't really paying too much attention.  I figured Nate would get some of the pieces out and discover it was harder than he thought it would be.

We got home and Ava and I left to attend a baby shower.  When we got back a couple of hours later, this is what we found:

Nate had been hard at work.  He had the compost bin over half completed without any help from me or Cody.  I couldn't believe how focused he was.  There was only one diagram to follow, and no written directions.

He even enlisted Lucas' help and devised a system of Lucas inserting screws and holding them as Nate tightened the nut onto them.

I ended up helping him with one minor problem.  It was a mistake he had made because of not thinking far enough in advance about how the door was going to fasten onto the bin.  I helped him correct the problem and he was on his way again putting it all together.  It was the kind of mistake anyone would make when putting something together for the first time, but one they would learn from and not repeat the next time a similar project comes along.

When he finished putting it together, his excitement was infectious.  He brought Cody in and showed him his work.  Cody got a tool out so Nate could tighten all the screws.  Then they carried it into the yard.  Nate was so proud of himself and I was proud of him, too!

It really made me think about how much Nate needs stimulating projects that challenge his thinking and problem solving skills.  He is so self-motivated when the right project comes along, like in this case.  But circumstances don't always miraculously provide the perfect thing for him to tackle and throw his effort into.  I could be more proactive in searching out those kinds of experiences for him.

And by the way, how handy is it that Cody and I didn't have to mess with putting the compost bin together?  Talk about a time-saver for us.  It's so cool that Nate wanted to do it and was able to do it without much help.  I could get used to that!

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