In truth, the headline on this blog could have read: Engineers, Thank Your Fathers. But itís not Fatherís Day this coming weekend; itís Motherís Day. And, in full disclosure, as you might have deduced by my photo and byline, Iím not a dad, but a mom.
We have two young boys in our family, a toddler and a kindergarten. The kindergartner did basic addition and subtraction before he could talk. The toddlerís idea of playing with toy trucks is to take them apart and reassemble them. I have a strong suspicion they will grow up to be engineers.
That suspicion is only amplified by the toy chest full of LittleBits and Legos. Oh so many Legos that this mom -- and likely every mom of engineers -- has stepped on barefoot during the night and screamed a silent scream so not to wake anyone.
My kids build, and build, and build, and question, question, question, to no end. Mind you, Iím not complaining. They create and are curious, two wonderful traits in people and two traits Iíve enjoyed seeing in the countless engineers Iíve encountered over the many years Iíve had the pleasure of working with them. Creativity and curiosity serve to make this world a better place and Iím lucky to be surrounded by it at work and at home.
Putting aside my paying gig here at Design News, Itís a full-time job to keep the spark of engineering burning in a child. Science fairs, trips to ďplease touchĒ museums, weekends spent with robotics kits, and the need to constantly research answers to their queries.
You havenít truly parented until youíve answered bedtime questions like: How many numbers are infinity? How does the Internet work? Can I live on Mars? And why does the light in the fridge/garage/basement come on automatically? Without a doubt, having knowledge of sensors and getting to chat with NASAís best and brightest at events like the Embedded Systems Conference comes in handy when raising little engineers.
Weíre still more than a decade away from college, but Iím betting that both our boys will grow up to be engineers. Thatís fantastic, in my opinion. In the meantime, Iím finding being the mom to engineers in training can be a little challenging, sometimes awkward, and requiring of a certain type of patience. When our oldest corrected his pre-school teacherís math, as example. Or when our little one takes apart another kidís toy or reconstructs the tracks at the libraryís train table to the dismay of other patrons (he improved the setup, in my opinion, but Iím biased).
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Hereís the secret to Motherís Day, folks. Despite what the card companies, flower shops, and department store jewelry counters shout through mid-May, your mom really only wants two things for Motherís Day: First, to know that you are in a good place in life. A solid career, hopefully filled with days doing something you enjoy that contribute to the world, is a big part of that. And, second, to, ahem, get some credit! You didnít become an engineer on your own, junior.
So this weekend, be sure to say thank you to your mom for all sheís done to help you through life and to make you the engineer you are today. And if you still feel the need for a store-bought gift, slippers are nice. Something with a rubber sole that will absorb a Lego impact.
Happy Motherís Day to the moms of engineers and moms who are engineers out there.
[image via pixabay.com]
When Suzanne Deffree is not acting as Editor-in-Chief of Design News and Content Director for UBM Advanced Manufacturing, she spends her time inspiring two active young boys toward STEM, avoiding Lego minefields, and googling.