I am a very task oriented person and I work a lot because I have my own business. When the grandkids come to visit, this situation makes it feel like they are getting in the way of production.
But the solution to this personal problem of perception is not to shoo them out of the shop, the solution is to stop what I am working on and spend time with them. The kids will always seem to be in the way in the shop, unless I make them a part of the shop.
A situation that starts out feeling like the kids are in the way, changes to a fulfillment that can't fully be explained. It is something that has to be experienced to be understood.
It occurs to me that so often the solution we seek is the one that we reject. My nature is to point the kids out the door, but I realize after they go, the opportunity has passed to spend time with them and the shop feels empty.
I recently shared a an audio post for Matt Vanderlist at his Spoken Wood Podcast. One of the points that I was trying to share was that passing the torch is not that complicated, it just requires you to stop what you are doing and share your time.
There does not need to be any structure to sharing time in the shop, especially with kids. Kids are a creative group on their own and so I take advantage of this. As it turns out, this is easy parenting (or grandparenting in my case) and it works well for the kids because they get to be kids and just express themselves.
I don't tell the kids what to make, I let them figure it out themselves. I use the "empty box effect" to my advantage. You know what that is, on Christmas day when you buy them all kinds of toys yet they are more captivated by the empty box. With kids in the shop all you have to do is provide a stack of wood blocks in various sizes.
There is problem solving and creativity involved. Coordination to use the tools is developed and this is also where you teach them to use the tools. At the end of the project, they learn to be responsible and put things back where they belong. That is enough structure.
Through this experience, better relationships are built and the torch is being passed to the new generation because they are having such a great time. And most importantly, I have adjusted my priorities to the proper position.
Your friend in the shop - Todd A. Clippinger
Share the Love ~ Share the Knowledge