Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Four-Year-Old's Ingenuity

old fashioned tricycle
Photo: tangle_eye

Making Something from Parts

A Guest Post by Charles Pogue

I grew up in a close knit farm family in Central Texas during the drought that lasted for the first seven years of that decade.

Wouldn’t you know that drought ended the night my wife, seven years my junior was born? I still remember the cracks in the dry black dirt that were so wide one could step in and sprain an ankle quite easily.

Like about everyone else around us, we never had much money, and that meant it was a big debate whether I should go to the doctor or not when I stuck a sharp ended stick I was using for a horn like the ones they have in the marching bands all the way through my tongue. The best I remember I went to the doctor with that wound, but there were many times my parents used faithful old home remedies.

Now, I didn’t always use poor judgment, sometimes I could be plumb wise for my years. When that happened it grew out necessity due to our not so great financial well-being. There was this one time when I was about four years old, that looking back on it now, I can hardly believe a four-year-old could have done what I did. You see, I wanted a tricycle really bad, but wasn’t apt to get one for my birthday, for Christmas, or a combination of the two. They must have cost five or six dollars, an exorbitant amount back then.

It just so happened, though, that some years before, my older brother had one of those three wheeler ancestors, but now it was off in the front part of the pasture in pieces. Well, this four-year-old gathered up those pieces, went into the car shed (that’s what we called an unattached garage back then, where I gathered up the necessary bolts to remount the front wheel, cotter pins to put the rear ones back on, and one just the right size to reattach the seat.

Back then, even though I was so young, I never gave much thought of that project being a difficult one for a four-year-old, but today in my, shall we say, less than average mechanical aptitude I am left speechless by my child ingenuity. I just wish I could recapture some of that brilliance today!

If there is a point here I guess it is this. Kids miss out on so much today. From an early age, they have their little electronic games devices, they stay in the house hours upon end, and end up pale as Casper the ghost. Even more sad to me is the fact that often times they don’t have the experiences like me with the tricycle where they need something they do not have, and because of a lack of just doing things fail to have the inventiveness to create something for themselves.

We who are parents and grandparents could do the tykes a favor if we would encourage them to go out and search for something they would like to have, and if they cannot find it in one piece, maybe they could gather a part here and a part there and put them all together for just that thing they wanted.

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