Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Robotics Summer Camps

I am so excited for Alex! Yesterday we started a series of robotics summer camps. His Beginning Droids camp is full (see for more information about his camps) and he really enjoyed teaching. He also assisted me in teaching Mechanical Engineering 1. Since he had the class last year, he knew all of the answers to my questions and was able to help the students keep up with me. We have a terrific group of boys who are very bright and did very well with their building projects.

Anybody who has a child with a severe heart defect knows that there are certain activities that will be more difficult for their children to do than for children without a heart defect, but when our children are babies, those differences don't seem too great (unless you're having to deal with feeding issues or need oxygen -- or require other out-of-the-ordinary devices). It hasn't been until Alex has started to age that I am becoming more aware of his limitations. We live in Texas and one of those limitations is how a preteen earns money. In Texas it is not uncommon for boys to earn money in the spring and summertime by mowing yards and doing yardwork. While Alex certainly can help out in that regard, staying out in the heat for hours on end is not good for him. I worry about dehydration. He simply doesn't like it. The heat drains his energy (and mine, too!).

That's why it becomes increasingly important for me to help him discover other ways to earn money. Right now he has his sights set on earning enough money to buy a Wii. He has it harder than some kids because I've always had a rule that he has to save half of what he earns for college. That makes earning money for the Wii harder because the more he earns, the more he has to save. Of course in the long run, he'll thank me, but for now, he's not relishing the thought of having to work so hard for his game system.

Last summer Alex and I created a robotics summer camp and Alex really enjoyed it. It was a great way for him to earn money doing something he liked: working with kids and robots. He can certainly earn more money teaching robotics than he can mowing yards right now. He is also learning the value of sharing his talents with others -- and perhaps equally importantly -- and recognizing and cultivating talents and skills in others. I am proud of how well he interacted with the children.

Yesterday Alex was a little apprehensive about his class. His is 12, but I had agreed to let a 13-year-old boy take the class, too. Alex was concerned that the boy wouldn't respect him or that it might be a problem. I talked to the boy's father about it and felt we at least needed to give him a chance. To my delight, yesterday Alex told me how happy he was that that boy was in his class. They really hit it off. The boy is a very good builder and very bright. I'm keeping a close eye on him to see how he interacts with the other boys. Our robotics team is losing one member because he's going to school in the fall. Perhaps this boy will be able to take George's place. We'll see.

The boys will be arriving in less than two hours, so I will need to close for now. If I can figure out how to attach photographs to the blog, then I'll post a picture from yesterday. Keeping up with the Blog has been more fun than I thought it would be!


No comments: