A Project of Life

I had some time today, split between projects at work and home, to think about how I got here. What single inflection point could have contributed the greatest to my current vector? My mother takes some of the credit.

Aside from the standard keep-me-alive stuff, the greatest thing she did for me was give me a soldering iron and an electronics kit on my 11th birthday. I jumped into it and learned early that you don’t solder in your underwear, and over time tore through that 200-in-1 kit manual to build every circuit, not quite understanding what’s going on under the hood. But I knew the utility of each design. I knew that blinkenlights and radio transmitters and music oscillators and digital logic games were hella cool. Took me a long time to grok the concepts, but the interest carried forward into a hobby.

Through fits and starts, that hobby carried forward into work. So now, 40 years later, I’m finally on a good footing in life and can repay her kindness.

I don’t think she saw it as an investment, but it totally was.

You don’t have to give your children soldering irons. But do listen to their requests. Get a sense for their real aptitudes. With any luck and a lot of fostering, their interests may elevate them to a place greater than you could have imagined.

I think my mom got me that stuff just to keep me quiet (as parents do) without consideration for my future in it. But it kept me home, out of trouble, and taught me a lot.

That small gift gave back.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?