I’ve recently had a break through with the kids.
As a dad, one of the great struggles in life is how to help your kids develop their God-given talents. This must be balanced with not losing yourself at the expense of your children believing the world revolves around them. OK. . . this isn’t a parenting blog. It is possible that we won’t agree on this, but. . . I think we all want to share what we are passionate about with our kids. I enjoy the outdoors, hiking/camping, and amateur radio.
My daughters are forever telling me radio, is for boys.
This is humorous to me as I have introduced the girls to a number of female hams and have had them participate in the North Texas YL net. My wife being an amazingly patient and loving person has even endeavored to get her amateur radio license. At the time of this writing she is studying for her Extra. She does this to show our daughters that girls can do whatever they want. Isn’t that awesome!
Recently — the tide has turned in my favor.
Berkley has attended the Nortex QRP meeting with me for a few years. A bunch of old men talking about terrible band conditions and radio. . . I’m pretty sure she just enjoys being the center of attention. 😉 Dwain Lawhon (K0LOA) has enjoyed a few conversations with Berkley (the youngest daughter) over the years. One day he ran into the two of us practicing some Technician Class License questions at a meeting. He told her that if she would get her license, he would give her a radio.
Well. . . she hasn’t followed through on the licensing, but she has talked about it off an on. Fast forward a year and I’m at a meeting when Dwain motions me over. He hands me a box containing a PFR-3, Code Warrior Junior, some batteries, headphones, speaker, paper, pencil, a wire antenna, the whole works! This is a box with about $500 worth of gear!! He built the radio some years ago and just doesn’t use it, so he was hoping I might enjoy it until Berkley could enjoy it.
I never cease to be amazed at the generosity in the ham radio community.
So I bring this home and show it to Berkley. The fire is back in her eye and she says, “I need to learn morse code.” So. . . we downloaded a couple apps, and I used a keyer and began helping her learn letters. After about 6 letters, she seemed to really be catching on so I ordered her a Ham Gadgets Ultra Pico Keyer. This is a simple project we built together in 3 nights. It’s probably a 2 hour project, but I was trying to teach her how to follow instructions, solder, and trim leads, etc.
Amelia (the oldest) noticed all of this time we were spending together and how much fun we were having.
I asked Amelia if she had any interest in building something. She tentatively said yes. So I ordered a 2P3 AM radio kit. In my mind I was imagining that she would be able to listen to music on the radio. This kit took substantially more time and is definitely NOT for a first time builder of things. But. . . we had a great time building that radio and she carries it around with her everywhere now. This is when it dawned on me that there are nearly zero AM music stations. It’s almost all political talk radio. . . YIKES!
All this to say. . . I think I’m starting to win them over. They have both burned themselves on the soldering iron once (Don’t worry, it was more like a hot spot than a burn), but they have been inducted into the brother/sisterhood of solderers!!! It’s also generating lots of fun conversations on the political topics of the day!
I will be documenting projects with the kids in the coming months on the blog, but wanted to encourage other dads, that your kids just want to spend time with you. Find one thing and connect it to radio and they will be ready to spend more time with you doing “radio”. Even if it is Dad’s hobby!
I’m a relatively new ham. Got my license, joined a club and I’m having fun! I enjoy CW, pedestrian mobile, backpacking, and I dream of building radios at some point. At present I have a wife and daughters so my building time is limited.