glue is always important. don’t go to a pinewOOd derby without glue. in fact, don’t leave home without glue. and, if ya live in missouri, take some masking tape, too. just don’t “high-five” your friends with super glue on your hands. don’t ask me how i learned this.
(2) – maybe graphite won’t help you win the race.
having graphite on you wheels sounds really cOOl. but it doesn’t mean you’re gonna win the race. but on second thought. yeah, graphite on your wheels is really important. because it just sounds cOOl. and sounding cOOl can be really important. at the pinewOOd derby. sometimes.
(3) – technology is great. until it isn’t.
technology is not always great. like when the high tech timing machine decides to quit. maybe it’s the software driver or the … ? (and more nerd talk) maybe after two hours of frustrating techno-agony, it’s time to use a pencil and a yellow pad and your eyeballs to time the races. just like your dad used to do.
(4) – weigh matters.
hey, weight does matter. but nothing more than 5 ounces.
and 5 ounces can be powerful. just 5 ounces can win a race.
(5) – murphy’s law is everywhere
murphy’s law really is EVERYwhere. murphy’s law does not play favorites. mr. murphy has no mercy. even at a pinewOOd derby.
mr. murphy can invite himself to even the best planned events.
isn’t it is amazing what you can learn at the pinewOOd derby?
you can learn a lot at a pinewOOd derby.
(# 6) – a bonus leSSon
you can always have fun with a group of cub scouts.
if ya can’t have fun with cub scouts, then ya need to re-think your life.
Be moMMie meSSy. Not Pinterest-Perfect. Just say NO.
Just say “no” to holiday craZZineSS.
The holiday season can bring out the BEST in us. AND the craZZiest in us. We experience the BEST by watching how we care for the homeless during the holiday season. With meals and gifts.
And we see the worst and the craZZiest in the Black Friday subhuman behavior. Black Friday, you know, that American tradition which reveals the dark retail underbelly of American greed and excess.
Just search YouTube for the latest WalMart Black Friday video. Click here.
I just have four things to say about the holiday craZZineSS.
It’s not your fault.
Be lazy. Be smart. Buy online.
Say “no” to Pinterest-Perfect cOOkies.
Say “yes” to a meSSy Christmas Tree.
1.) It’s not your fault.
We just mentioned the craZZineSS of Black Friday at WalMart.
Let’s refocus now. Not on WalMart. Let’s get personal.
Let’s talk about YOUR family.
How much of your holiday craZZiest is self-induced craZZiest ?
The answer is simple – ALL OF IT. You are responsible for ALL of your holiday craziest.
But just like in the movie, Good Will Hunting, where Robin Williams keeps saying to Will, “It’s not your fault. It’s NOT your fault. It’s NOT YOUR FAULT.” [link to video clip]
It’s NOT REALLY YOUR FAULT. It’s my fault. Blame it on me – the baby boomer who raised you. Yes. This is one you CAN BLAME on your parents.
But, now, you get to change the madneSS.
Just say “no” to the holiday madness. Just say “no” to the traditions that don’t work for your family. Including your crazy busy schedule. And your demanding expectations of the holiday season.
2.) Be lazy. Be Online-Smart.
By now, I hope that you have already replaced Black Friday with Couch Comfortable Amazon Prime.
Just say “no.” Just say, “If I can’t buy it online and have it delivered for FREE, I will not buy it.”
It’s a simple and easy decision.
There is nothing that a retail store has. That I want so much that I am willing to sacrifice my sanity to drive, park, shop, fight, stand in line, and buy at a retail location. And risk my life driving in Orlando / Chicago / Springfield traffic. I will not trade my sanity for a gift.
This shopping obsession is the civilian equivalent of self-induced retail PTSD.
Just say “no” to retail madneSS. Case in point.Yesterday, I had razor blades delivered to my residence via Amazon. Ah-h-h, Amazon Prime – God’s gift to the lazy, the smart, and the tired (wise) elderly generation with our canes and walkers.
You can do this, too. Embrqce the techno tool specially designed for the meSSy moMMies. Those Online-Smart moMMies.
You, too, could be Amazon-Lazy. And Online-Smart.
Be moMMie meSSy (more about moMMie meSSy later) AND moMMie smART. Shop Amazon and let the elves at Amazon do the driving.
Just say NO to …
3.) NO to Pinterest-Perfect anything.
Be moMMie meSSy. Not Pinterest-Perfect.
You know those PERFECT cookies shaped like Santa Claus with embedded computer chips that sing Jingle Bells when you eat them. Just say “no.”
Because the Pinterest-Perfect moMMie that designed and created those cookies DOES NOT REALLY EXIST. At least, not on this globe. No mom working outside the home and raising children does things Pinterest-Perfect and lives to tell about it.
Forget the Pinterest-Perfect anything.
Settle for the moMMie meSSy version.And less streSS. The same applies to the annual cOOkie exchange that your mother taught you.
Forget that cOOkie exchange.
It’s not your fault.
You get to change. Not exchange.
I’m giving you permission to abandon some of the time-intensive madneSS. Instead. Create some rOOm.
Leave a hole in your schedule so you can relax.
Read a book after the children are in bed. Drop that annual Christmas Cookie Exchange. Just say “no.” Don’t bake cookies.
4.) Say “yes” to a meSSy Christmas.
Create your own traditions. Get your own tree. Make a WHOLE DAY
of tree cutting. And get the imperfect tree.
Settle for imperfect decorations thrown on the tree by your 3-year-old — having fun. And do not try to decorate your Christmas Tree using the perfect picture saved to your phone.
That perfectly decorated tree was designed by a full time Christmas Tree Decorator. The picture was taken by a professional photographer. And then the picture was photo shopped to perfection. And (if there is no mess) no children were involved.
Lose the streSS. Make a meSS.
Just say “no.” And decorate like the Simpsons not Ozzie and Harriet.
I did it. I failed miserably. I was trying to do homework with my six-year-old grandson, Daniel. And I failed miserably in three different ways.
… and I did it all in one aftern00n.
It felt like a major setback this week. Doing homework with my grandson, Daniel.
So much progress made this year motivating Daniel. And then an EPIC FAIL in one aftern00n.
Thursday after school didn’t go well.
It didn’t go well at all. Daniel just decided to assert himself – more than usual. Our homework session started OK. Then Daniel just said “no.”
“No. I don’t like math.”
“No. I don’t want any help.”
“No. I don’t want to do homework.”
Just “no.” “No.” And another “NO” for good measure.
And internally I just crashed.
It was already an emotionally charged week for me working with Daniel. Daniel was in a “no-no-no mode” this week. My aged brains cells raced with frustration and questions.
Doesn’t he understand how valuable MY time is?
Doesn’t Daniel understand how IMPORTANT education is?
Doesn’t he appreciate ALL OF THE WORK I have done to create a friendly learning environment?
Internally, I crashed and was CRUSHED when Daniel kept saying “no.” I thought I had created the ideal learning environment. I knew I had failed this aftern00n. And I had finally met my match in self-will and stubbornness.
Hey, I’m dealing with a six-year-old who would rather watch video games (you know, Minecraft) than spell words and do math. And compared to Minecraft, all this education stuff means nothing to him.
No amount of M&M’s (candy bribery) or …
… false encouragement and excitement about education would change Daniel’s mind.
Well, the next day, Friday morning, I was trying to understand where I had failed.
Where did I FAIL ?
Here is the 3-point assessment of my faulty (MBA) thinking.
My first FAILure was …
… the obvious – thinking about me and that I had failed. I had provided the right environment and the right processes. But Daniel had a tough week and had reached an invisible emotional peak (or valley). He had reached some sort of educational saturation point.
Daniel’s brain cells were saying, “Enough is enough.”
Daniel is six years old.
And I’m, well … real old. Daniel had reached the six-year-old limit for doing homework on a routine. He had reached the six-year-old maximum number of days in row for doing homework on time.
And out of MY control.
This was all about Daniel.And HIS limits.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not listed in some education manual that I could predict. Daniel’s maximum limit did not fit into my linear way of thinking.
Second FAILure …
My expectations were t00 high.
It was like pushing a string.
Like stopping the wind.
Like trying to put t00thpaste back into the tube.
No amount of “grandpa super powers” would work.
My expectations of my perfect plan combined with intellectual super powers were unrealistic.
Crazy thinking on my part. To try to compete with a six-year-old’s thinking.
My unrealistic expectations were MY RECIPE FOR FAILURE. Or a recipe for feeling like I had failed.
“A six-year-old’s super powers for resisting homework will always trump this old man’s thinking about what’s gonna work for Captain Daniel America.” – America’s GRUMPiest Grandpa
Third FAILure …
… WAS keeping score.Trying to think in terms of black and white. Wins and losses. Thinking that when Daniel gets to win, then grandpa must loose. I forgot that …
I forgot. The goal is to help Daniel to enjoy learning. Not just complete another math problem.
“If Daniel doesn’t learn the way I am teaching, then maybe I should teach the way Daniel learns.” – America’s GRUMPiest Grandpa
If Daniel doesn’t learn the way I am teaching, then maybe I should teach the way Daniel learns. (Simple. Profound and true.)
Try some new things.
Teaching on the computer, the iPad?
Taking our homework class to Panera Bread and mix in some double chocolate brownies with math?
Or (for a six-year-old) just SKIP HOMEWORK one night? WOWzer !!
Or do homework AFTER SUPPER instead of ALWAYS BEFORE supper?
I need to remember the goal is to sell the learning process – not just to do one more math problem.
The end result …
… of Thursday evening was: Daniel did finish his math and spelling – peacefully – with his mom AFTER SUPPER.With no drama.
And then Daniel happily showed me his completed homework.
Let’s have some fun and do some reaLLy cool stuff this summer.
Or anytime. Why wait til summer to do fun stuFF ?
1.) – Build with MarshmaLLows …
… and t00thpicks.
Yes, I know we’ve already talked about this last week. But Lucas wanted to show you pictures of his creations.
Just marshmaLLows and t00thpicks …
… and skewers and stirrers and Gummy Bears and some Legos for effect.
And the Finished MarshmaLLow and GuMMy Bear Tent Circus …
If you use your imagination, you can see the Lion Cages and the Trapeze Artists. And when you listen closely, you can even hear the Carnival Barker.
Yes, you do need to buy some extra marshmallowsto feed the animals – the home crowd – brothers and sisters – watching and “helping.” We were loosing some marshmallows – to a younger brother, an older brother and mom.
Here’s a secret grandpa tip about working with marshmallows. Open the bag and let the marshmallows dry a little.
When the marshmallows are fresh, they’re a little sticky and messy hard to work with.
Another grandpa tip: Remember to eat ALL of your mistakes.
2.) – Create a Super Hero Lego Village.
And take some pictures.
It’s as simple as it sounds. Use some Lego characters and random toys from the house. Get creative and take some pics with your phone to create Lego scenes.
This is a great time to teach your kids how to use an image editing app. Use Snapseed. It’s FREE and easy to use. FREE for iPhone and android.
Use your imagination and ask yourself how you are going to use what you buy. Don’t be so structured and dependent on some website or pre-packaged kit to give you directions on how to build and what to do.
Just buy some cheap stuff and get creative with …
sidewalk chalk, and
(draw outlines of bodieslike a crime scene and let your neighbors wonder what happened last night)