Friday, June 22, 2012

Teach your kids to fix stuff.. plant the seed!

As a dad, a teenager, and even before that, I've always been willing to rip something apart to find out how it works.  This history of tinkering and being willing to take on a repair has served me very well as a dad. 

There are of course the endless repairs to home, auto, appliances, etc.  There is also never a lack of toys, gadgets, and otherwise irreplaceable treasures left on my desk with the hope that some magic will occur overnight, bringing a treasured toy back to life.

While this has always been part of my being, it has become quite apparent to me that it is not an innate quality in all guys.  It must be learned.  I had the benefit of growing up in a home where we couldn't afford to just pay people to fix things.  So repairs always fell on the shoulders of my dad.  It is certainly from him, that I gained my knack.

My boys are now old enough to understand the value of repairing something.  Bringing a treasure that was otherwise headed for the trash bin, back to life.  To realize that this isn't a throwaway world.  The understanding of how to properly dismantle something.

I just had to watch for the opportunity and act.

It didn't take long.  The boys came back from a garage sale with a $2 steal... an actual working claw machine!  Except... it didn't quite work.  The claw wouldn't close.  The smiles turned to frowns.

I grabbed my middle son and pointed him toward the tool bag.

The feel for how far you can push different types of plastic before it starts to break, the little tricks you use to coax a screw out of a tight spot, it's all learned through experience.

We carefully took it apart getting to the gear / motor box in the top of the machine, and worked our way down to the linkage that drew the claw shut.

A small gear that belonged on the end of the motor had slid off and was lying in the bottom of the gear box.  I had Aiden figure out what didn't look right, and try to figure out where it must have belonged.

We carefully lifted the motor enough to access the shaft.  Then put a very small amount of super glue on the end of a toothpick, and applied it to the inside of the gear before sliding it back onto the motor.

Reassembled everything, and it worked.... the magic returned... in the form of a working claw machine, and a smiling and proud kid.  A kid who is starting to learn that he can fix things.

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