About a month ago, I walked into the garage to find Chase and three of his friends in the middle of a project. I'd like to say this is an unusual phenomenon at our house, but it's not. Chase is almost always in the middle of constructing something. He's built a hover board, a rifle, a go-cart, a knife, several bows and arrows, as well as a variety of other odd projects. If he can dream it, he can build it. He's stopped coming to me for permission, and bypasses my authority for that of the Husband's.
I know nothing about power tools and building weapons of mass destruction. My first instinct is almost always to say no.
They had decided this time to build a boat. They spent their own money on wood, came up with a design, and started working.
The project took several weeks. I laughed every time I passed a garage full of sawdust-covered boys sanding the boat with cheerful grins on their faces and music blaring in the corner. They experimented with waterproof finishes and found a deeply discounted bucket of green paint with which to complete their creation. They joked and laughed and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the process.
Yesterday was the inaugural launch of their boat. They took it (all couple hundreds pounds of wood, paint and finish) to a nearby pond and prayed to the gods of the sea for success. It was no surprise, really, that it worked. Their little green boat sailed like a champ.
More importantly, however, is the lesson here for mothers everywhere. When your boys want to build and create - say yes. Even though it will be messy and probably slightly dangerous. No doubt it will be inconvenient. There will be sawdust covering your wood floor and paint dripped into your sink. There will be loud music playing at all hours, and sweaty boys rummaging through your pantry. Their project will maybe even occupy the spot in the garage where your car should be. For weeks at a time.
But there is so much more happening. There is growth, creativity, knowledge and leadership. They are problem solving and learning to work as a team. They are using their imagination and understanding the value of hard work. None of them are on devices or sitting in front of a television. They are setting a goal, and moving heaven and earth to make it happen. All by themselves. They are thinking, dreaming, planning, laboring.
They are not really putting together a boat, after all.
They are putting together the men they are becoming.
And that is a fantastic, miraculous process at work.