Lately, my third-grade daughter’s pencil drawings are making me wonder if woodworking could be a genetic trait.
When I was her age, I was drawing Peanuts characters, spaceships and some really scary monsters—at least in my estimation. My kiddo Barrett, on the other hand, is drawing tables and chairs these days…in three dimensions, no less! She draws lots of other things too. There are still plenty of puppy and kitty pictures intermingled with her furniture stuff, but tables and chairs are definitely on her mind.
You can just imagine how that goes over with her woodworking father!
But, aside from the fact that I’m pleased as punch about her new penchant for furniture design, I can’t claim much responsibility for it—much as I’d like to. It’s not like she’s got a chair pulled up to the computer when I’m creating CAD drawings for some new project. She’d rather be playing Mario Cart Wii than watching me work the bugs out of an elevation drawing. My never-ending influx of woodworking magazines are scattered through the house in all the usual places. I’ve got a shelf of woodworking books that she could easily reach. To my knowledge, she doesn’t look at any of it. We don’t talk shadow lines or Golden Ratios over chicken McNuggets.
Nope, it seems that this is all Barrett’s doing. There’s some kind of magical new cognition happening for her. Suddenly, tangible things like tables and chairs aren’t flat on the page any more. They have depth and proportion, just like in real life. And her ability to copy what she sees seems to amuse her as much as it pleases me. She’ll whip up a new table or chair picture whenever I ask for one.
Is the start of something big? Who knows. Today’s tables could end up going the way of yesterday’s favorite stuffed animal. But, the next time she follows me out to the shop, puts on the apron and starts to push sawdust into piles with the broom, I should take it as a stronger sign. Maybe it’s time to grab some scraps and nails and see where that takes us. I just might just have a little woodworker on my hands. That, my friends, would be quite nice!
Have you been in my shoes? What did you do to give your kid that next woodworking nudge? Post a note back, and let’s get a conversation going about it!
Catch you in the shop,
Chris Marshall, Field Editor