What kind of summer are you having?

Danbo at the beach

Have you got kids home for summer vacation right about now? I know I do and they would likely be satisfied spending the next couple of months sprawled around the family room with television and tablets to occupy their eyeballs. But that wouldn't be good parenting, now would it? What do responsible parents do? Maybe I don't entirely know, but let's do something a little different this summer.

Alex likes to build things. He has grown through the various building toys most boys seem to these days. He had a sizable collection of wooden trains and tracks that often filled his bedroom floor. He inherited even more Lego bricks than that. His desk is covered with various odd erector sets and carpentry kits. He even comes home from school with little contraptions built from the random things he finds on the school playground, a string, a paperclip, a pen cap, whatever! Oh, and how could I forget the modern bane of many parents, Minecraft! Yes, Alex likes to build things.

I think that's totally cool!

Alex and I are a lot alike. But we have our differences, too. I've spent the last couple of years giving him an occasional nudge toward computer programming, something which I enjoy very much, but it's just not his thing. Recently, he even said as much to me when I asked what he was going to do with all of his free time this summer.. I swear I didn't get moody and sad for even a second. Instead, I listened as he told me about wanting to build things, of course, build robots and rockets and . . .

Well, it all sounded pretty good to me. In the spirit of being the best parent I can be I promised him, and myself, that we'd do exactly that. We're calling it Robot Summer. Sounds fun enough, right? Starting small and working our way up to larger projects as we go, I plan to encourage my son to stretch his creativity and imagination, teach him about various electronic and mechanical components, show him how to design, manufacture, and assemble various projects, maybe even get him to suffer through a wee bit of programming, and make robots!

He is excited. Very excited. Me, too!

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