Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Children of the Corn

There is a peculiar situation presented to college graduates when they become parents. It doesn't happen until about six years after the birth of their first child, but eventually they will face this somewhat awkward situation. The situation is the first major project that their child is assigned in school.

Gwen's assignment seemed simple enough - a three minute presentation on corn farms. And certainly it would have been simple enough. Except that the parent designated to help her with this project was Blaine. And the last presentation Blaine gave in the world of academia was a two hour presentation on Field Programmable Gate Arrays designed to process digital images in real time to find roads as part of an autonomous driving system blah blah blah yadda yadda *yawn*. He spent over six months researching and testing his programs and theories, writing thirty page papers and designing websites to support this project.

So you can see the problem right? Asking someone who is used to giving thorough, intense, groundbreaking presentations to rooms full of engineers to create a simple and succinct presentation on corn farms. Well, it would be like asking Shakespeare to write the script for a Velveeta commercial. Or having Pdub do a guest post on this blog. You get the picture--overqualification.
You should have seen his bloodshot, horrified, fearful eyes when I explained the details of Gwen's report to him. You would think I had just assigned him another senior project.

This unexpected reaction wasn't because I had asked him to help on her project; he was eagar and willing to help. But man, the stress! You wouldn't think someone with his experience and qualifications would be so terrified of a three minute report!

They worked on it. And worked on it. And WORKED on it some more. They went to a corn farm, they went to a grocery store to find all of the things that used corn as an ingredient, they made a poster, they rehearsed and memorized, they colored and googled.

Blaine had the kind of parents who stayed up until unearthly hours helping him do posters for school projects, I had the kind of parents who consoled me when they found out I only got a 4 on the AP physics exam (as they assumed it was out of 10 or 100...either way a 4 didn't seem too hot). Both of us wound up on full tuition scholarships at BYU, so there is no real saying which way is the right way. Lucky for Gwen she has one of each. One who will stay up late doing posters, and one who will pop the popcorn and deliver it to the hard workers before she goes crawling back to bed.

I think Gwen is off to a healthy start. Her presentation was today and she nailed it (or so I heard from Blaine, who took the morning off to go and see it). I am really proud of Gwen.

But I am even prouder of Blaine. I may complain that he isn't a good handyman(did I ever post about the shelves he built me?). I may say he is the girl in this relationship (he cried in Mission to Mars people). He may be more afraid of mice than me (you should have heard him scream the other day when we saw one in the garage). But he really has everyone beat in the fatherhood department. And if we are being honest, that's about the biggest and most important department there is. He took on as much stress for a three minute report on corn farming as he did for his own senior project. That's the sign of a quality father right there.

So here is to my electrical engineer husband, who stayed up until who knows how late with his six-year-old to make sure she was overly prepared and qualified to give a three minute presentation on corn farms; all while I was snoozing in bed reading my scriptures. I'm glad he is willing and able to take on projects like this, and to help Gwen take them seriously, because I would have just had her memorize the wikipedia article.


JoAnna said...

This is honestly amazing!! I am usually against parents getting involved in the kids' projects, but Blaine was so incredibly awesome here. It sounds like he totally led Gwen and taught her tons and tons. WOW, Blaine! Super Dad Award!

marisa said...

I love that he took the morning off to see her presentation! I love even more how you sold him out about being a girl. Hilarious.

Karina said...

Cute hair, Gwen.