here are times to be subtle and there are times to be awesome. There are times to sit inside and play video games and there are times to get outside and howl at the moon. There are times to be careful and there are times to scare the neighbors just a little bit. For those of you who feel the need to inject a little “awesome” into your life, who think the neighbors have become a bit too complacent, who need to take a step or two closer to the edge, I have the prescription for you:
Build a trebuchet.
I have long been an advocate of getting power tools into the hands of children, and I make no secret of my love for augmenting the science curriculum at my kids’ elementary school. You might ask “How do you cap off a 2nd grade lesson on levers?” Simple. Construct a medieval siege engine/war machine, bring it on campus and fire projectiles at a couple dozen 8 year olds.
As cool as the science-factor is, the real benefit of a project like this is the time you get to spend with your kids. It’s about learning how to use power tools. It’s about countless trips to Home Depot (and the amazing hotdogs from the cart outside). It’s about researching and planning. It’s about learning from your failures and adjusting your strategy accordingly.
I will happily admit I’m not cool enough to engineer a trebuchet on my own, from scratch. But I am cool enough to go on the internet, find a well-made tutorial (which you are welcome to use yourself here) and adapt/modify it to meet my needs. Remember, the value here is not in having a functioning war machine in your garage (cool as that may be). The value is in FAILING along the way, and in learning from those failures. As you can see, we had to go back to the drawing board more than once on this little project.
You don’t have to have scientific super powers. You don’t have to be world-renowned in your field. You don’t even have to like other people’s kids. In whatever way possible, in whatever capacity you can, help out in your kid’s classroom. Kids spell “love” T.I.M.E. and there is nothing like the pride on your kid’s face when they see you there in front of all their peers. It’s like they’re saying without words “See? That’s my daddy and he’s the most awesome daddy in the universe.”
…of course it helps if you can bring a trebuchet to class with you.