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Earning Respect

November 23, 2015

So a few weeks ago, I was pretty ticked at the robo-dads for their lack of respect for the girls IMG_9505and their time with the robot at the girls’ robotics team practice. Yesterday the dads finally started to get it just a little bit.

Now I am not one to toot my kid’s own horn. I watch and observe all the kids on the team and I know which kid is the best at screwing around. Which kid has the better mechanical skills. Which kid is the creative one who could not care less about programming or building a robot. And which kid is the best programmer on the team (yes, that one is mine). Now again I don’t like to brag, but the kid is smart.

All the other kids on the team recognize it and in fact are very good at encouraging the Big One when she gets frustrated. They know that if the Big One cannot figure out the problem, there are pretty much toast. At least once at every practice at least one of the other kids on the team tells her to keep going because she is the best programmer on the team.

The dads pretty much know this as well. When there is a problem on the robot course, they always call the Big One over and ask her opinion on how to fix whatever is going wonky.

So a little background to get to yesterday’s practice. Last weekend the kids competed in the FLL Qualifying Tournament at High Tech High. There were 23 teams competing. Eight of the top teams were invited to compete in the upcoming Southern California Regional competition at LEGOLand in two weeks. Our team’s robot performance was middle of the pack, but they rocked it in the “Core Values” section of the competition. For this section, the kids are basically in a room with a panel of judges. The judges give the kids a random task to complete. They are given a short amount of time to do whatever they can to complete the task. It is basically a team building-type exercise where the judges are observing how the kids work together, not necessarily how successful they are at completing the challenge. The kids did awesome and ended up taking second place in this section. Their Core Values score combined with their research project score, their robot design and the robot performance was high enough to get them invited to the regional tournament.

So now we have TWO WEEKS to prepare for this next level. The kids were working yesterday on some modifications to improve the robot’s design and performance. The mechanical kid was asked to work on a new arm piece to improve the reliability of a couple programs, while the Big One was working on some other programming challenges. She was at a point where she needed a robot to test something, but the two robots were in use by other kids.

At this point the mechanical kid had gotten bored with his assigned task and was off building some flying machine with LEGOs, so the Big One began working on the modified arm.

Robo-dad #1 comes over and looks at the piece in front of the Big One and says, “Did ‘mechanical kid’ build that for you?”

The Big One didn’t even look up, she just kept her head down and replied, “No, I built it.”

Robo-dad #1 looks at me (I was on the floor sorting 5 million LEGO pieces because I have OCD issues) and then looks back at the Big One and says, “Hmmmmmmm that’s pretty good.”

At this point Robo-dad #2 joined the conversation. He asked the Big One if he could see what she was working on. She, of course, obliged and handed him the piece. He gets this huge grin on his face and says, “HMMMMMMM, that’s REAAALLLLLLLYYYY good!”

In Robo-dad#2’s defense he knows how smart the Big One is and he is the one that is always asking for her input on the other kids’ programs. I don’t think he was all that shocked at her skills, but he was definitely impressed with her problem solving and the way she just quietly went over to the table and did what needed to be done.

What can I say, the kid is a rock-star!


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