Last night at dinner, we got into a very complicated discussion about a design/build issue with the down-hill go-cart that Ben, our 8-years old is currently planning. I say we, but it was actually my husband and Ben working out the kinks in the design. At one point, my husband took his dinner plate and a knife to make a visual of a larger wheel and the axle and the amount of give and leverage and turn radius the wheel would have, as compared with a knife and a smaller example of a wheel, this little tub of pizza hot peppers. The smaller wheel doesn’t have as much play to it, and Scott was angling for a larger wheel for the go-cart instead of bicycle tires.
I don’t know if any of that made sense to anyone else. I’m just describing what happened. It was pretty much lost on me. The scary thing is that Ben may just be smarter than me. I’ve known this since he was very small. I alluded to it once in a conversation with my dad and he quickly acknowledged that this could very well be true. Perhaps he could have come to this observation not so quickly, is all I’m saying. Hrumph. Then he described IQ in a way I’d never heard.
He said our ability to process and obtain information could be seen as the size of our salad bowl. What we put into it by way of learning, listening, observing, and retaining is the lettuce and interesting little nuggets we add to our salad. He told me my salad may be bigger than Ben’s just because of the head start I have with age and the amount I have already learned. He paused and said, “Ben just may have a much bigger bowl.”
Fair enough. My kid’s got a bigger salad bowl and the ability to process and contemplate information in a way that is simply beautiful to me. I never tire of hearing his plans, or looking at the designs he puts on paper, and the way he actually takes those plans and finds scraps of wood or metal around our property, in the barn or in the scrap metal pile, and creates these things he imagines.
I am so ridiculously grateful that we have space for him to explore and build. And there is no end to my appreciation of the fact that my husband welds, and has tools and shows Ben how to use them so that his imagination can soar upwards and out, expanding into complex levels of layered blueprints one on top of the other for showing extra detail (he’s done that with his iron man designs), and then down into his hands, that get to interpret his ideas into outputs of solid objects.
He may be smarter than either one of us on our own, but there are two of us to contend with around here, and we get the privilege of trying to keep up with him. And that is my gratitude story for the day!
I must add that one of our favorite parts of this particular design and the way Ben presented it to us, was that he told us he had to do a lot of math, and he had to think it through very carefully, because he didn’t have an eraser.