The other day a friend started her back to school story with, “I just know he’s going to be an engineer.” Well it got me thinking, how many other people feel this way about their kids. Not having kids of my own, I’m always fascinated at how parents know exactly what their kids will be one day. “Jimmy’s such a good helper; I just know he’s going to be a great dad one day.” Or “My 4 year old insists on telling me what is cool and not cool, I just know she’s going to be a designer.” I’m not entirely sure if parents realize that they all do this, but I’m pretty certain that my parents (my dad for sure) thought I was going to go into politics. Now, he’ll just be happy if put him in a “really nice nursing home” one day. Before I digress too far, the lunch conversation made me wonder why other people at Proto Labs think their sons and daughters are going to be engineers, so I asked them.
Here are some of the responses I got when I asked: How do you know that your child is going to be an engineer?
“My son breaks a toy apart just to see how it works, and likes to test the durability of EVERYTHING.”
“Our son was playing with that toy that has blocks of different shapes and a box with different cut outs to match the shapes, and you have to put the right shape block in the right cut out to get it in the box. Some kids try each one in different orientations until they find the one that fits. Some kids can look at the shape of the hole and find the right blocks a little sooner. Our son flipped the box over, opened the bottom, and put all the blocks in the box at once!”
“Taking a baseball apart is a higher priority than playing baseball.”
“I built a chair out of frog bones in biology class.”
“When we were 8, my friend busted open the housing on a chainsaw and mounted the motor on his scooter… his dad was (*&^%$) but gave props.”
“He’s more interested in playing imaginary light-saber fighting on the soccer field than actually playing soccer.”
“We taught our 8-year-old child to do a benefit/cost calculation before deciding on whether to purchase a video game (and the kid has never bought one because of this).”
“Our teenager took apart the computer and put it back together for fun. It just works better after.”
“The picture they bring you is a design for a hot cocoa and cookie dispenser for your car.”
“Since he was three years old, he would never let me throw anything away without asking to take it apart (old VCR, telephone, toaster, etc.).”
Sure, I could have done an internet search for lists (surely I had plenty of those emailed to me), or could have gone down the path of a bad joke list “you know your kids gonna be an engineer if…”, but I thought it was much more interesting to collect these stories from my colleagues. Oh, and the story that prompted this entire conversation was someone that has an engineer on their hands “because he had to make sure all the crayons were in the right order and wanted to bring his re-built adding machine to school” for the first day of 2nd grade. How do you know your child is going to be an engineer?
Stacy Sullivan, Media Manager at Proto Labs