Thursday, April 5, 2012

Children are the Mother of Invention

Today I got to spend an hour at Wilton High School as part of their "Real World" panel, where adults from the community talked about their jobs and their career paths. While I may be the height of a teenager, it is true (although very odd) for me to say that I have almost 15 years of experience in my field.

I was on the Environment, Architecture, IT and Entrepreneurship panel - how is that for a random assortment? The man sitting next to me, Dave, the "entrepreneur" part of the panel, is an inventor. And, as luck would have it, the DoodleMark, is his tres cool product. Part bookmark, part Magna Doodle, he created it to fill a need he saw when reading with his daughter.  As soon as he started talking about it, it all clicked.

I thought about how lately LP has been a reading machine. For an almost-6-year-old reading can be exhausting work. Which means she stops often. And she is always searching for a bookmark.

She is also learning to write, so she liked to carry around a separate notebook to write down a hint to remind her of where she left off:
If you can read the right page it says, "I left off at the letter I". She was very proud of how small her writing was on the left page, but it makes it hard to read, - this one I will write verbatim, "I LEFt of At tHE LEDr you AND PAJ NUMBr 27."

Can you see how this handy-dandy device can save 1. a lot of paper and 2. a lot of headaches? So, while I may not have imparted that much wisdom to the 125 students that showed up (my key point was, "focus on your strengths" - can you hear their eyes glazing over?), I got to meet a really smart and interesting guy - and potentially avoid future meltdowns.

As I left the choral room where our panel was held, three kids had pinned Dave down, asking for advice on how to make ideas into a reality.  Man, do I wish I had a good idea!