In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Something I Don't Do

I don't do science projects.

Sure, I did them when I was in school and the annual science fair rolled around. But once I was the mom, I declared science projects Dad's domain--and let my husband Rob have all the fun. After all, Rob is the engineer-turned-physician in the family. He should handle the science and the math projects. I am the writer. I handle the writing assignments. My children learned that no paper is turned in without at least one rewrite.

Christa has a science project due on Friday, which is why Rob and she spent the evening in the garage. The assignment: Create a simple machine.

Is there such a thing? Not as far as I'm concerned. But, after reading her assignment paper, which is as involved as I'll get in this project, I learned simple machines are things like pulleys and incline planes and levers.

Rob listened to Christa change her mind a gazillion times about what simple machine she wanted to work on. Finally, he agreed on a combo: something with pulleys and an incline plane and a lever. They drew up a design and rummaged through the wood pile in our garage. No, we do not have a wood burning stove. My husband just hates to throw away leftover wood from other projects. Then they spent an hour or so measuring and sawing and hammering and nailing things down. Christa ran back and forth for the things her Dad needed--and finally invited me out to have a look.

Of course, I loved the simple machine Christa and Rob are building. But what I loved more was the smile on Christa's face. It matched the one of my husband's face. And I recalled all the times Rob worked on projects with our three oldest kiddos. At the time, all the effort seems like it is about earning a grade. But I know it is more than that. It is time with Dad--doing something together. Planning. Designing. Making something work--together.

Long after the science project lies forgotten in the garage--maybe back in the wood pile--the memory of time with Dad will stay with Christa.

**Thanks to all the moms who posted a comment on Trish Berg's book Rattled. "Stamped with Grace" won the copy! Send me your address and I'll get it in the mail to you.**


At 8:57 AM, Blogger Josh said...

I will certainly never forget the many times Dad worked with me on various science projects. It's the only reason I'm familiar with tools as it is.

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Maybe if I helped more with projects I'd be as comfortable with screwdrivers and hammers as I am with commas and pronouns.


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