Geez.  What a week.  To say that I haven't recovered from last week's whirlwind sprint marathon from DFW to NYC to Baltimore to DC to DFW from Monday thru Thursday night would be a lie.  A big fat one. 

And work has placed additional stresses on trying to get a new proposal done in time for yesterday.  It got done and was pretty darned good, but it took a lot of reserve energy, for sure.

There are some incredible bright spots to talk about, however.

Last Thursday I was at McKinley High School in Washington, DC. I went to a computer lab there, actually two of them.  In one room, all PCs.  The kids were working on Java scripting.   It's the middle of summer.  What does that tell you?  No, not nerds, but normal kids who are smart enough to know this is something good for them to know.

In the next room?  Well, I actually said it was a room with "real computers" when I walked it.  It was full of Macs.  The kids were using Autodesk Maya.  One kid had built his own game.  Another was doing testing of an oil rig at sea with the 3-D application.  COOL. 

Sunday, we downloaded it on two machines in our house.  There is a free-bie of the Personal Learning Edition.  Tuesday night, we found a book at Borders.  Wednesday morning, our 11-year-old son built a replica of our solar system using Maya PLE with the aid of the book we bought Tuesday night.   Hello, do you hear me?  Eleven-year-old kid builds replica of our solar system on computer.  Eleven years old.  (Heck, he even put the rings on Saturn.) 

Wednesday night during dinner, we talked about the possibilities.  After dinner, all seven of the kids sat at the dinner table together.  Yes, it was loud.  Yes, it was a brainstorming session where they were each trying to voice their opinions over the other six.  But they sat there for almost two hours.  They were designing their own game.  Hello.  Do you know how many times all seven of our kids, from the 15-y-o to the four, have sat that long at the dinner table with no food (well, they did start popping pop corn, cracked open some Sunny-Ds, and chips, etc.)?!  I don't think they ever have.

I learned some new things, too.  An RPG isn't a grenade launcher the military uses.  It's a roll-playing-game.  An NPC is a non-playing-character; one whose functions you can't assume and control.  (Yes, I wound up learning from the kids.)

The boys were contriving the world 1,000 years into the future they'd like the game to happen in.  They want to do something, too, with black holes.  The girls were tasked with drawing characters for the game.  And designing fashion, (war-torn ones) that people will be wearing then.  Each person had a role to play.  That took some doing to make happen, but once they all got the idea that they each had a role and weren't going to be running the entire deal, well, the magic began to happen. 

I found the girls can draw better than I could have imagined.  The boys have a vast knowledge of things I never have thought about.  It truly was one of the best nights I've ever had of being a dad. 

Was it easy to weather?  No. It was very loud.  But for the first time ever, I saw all seven of my kids collaborating with no ends in sight on where they can go.  It was magical.  It was a start.  And it gave me great hope for all of them. That night was a melding of emotions for me.  Yes, I was very tired, but at the same time, I was elated.  Through things I'm learning at work, through things I'm seeing on the road, I'm bring them back home, and passing them on to my kids, who are taking things to the next level.  Who are dreaming of what the world can become.  And I'm the luckiest dad in the world, because I got to see it happening.  And Wednesday night was only a start.




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