The east coast of the United States has been drenched over the past several weeks. Yes, California, I hear you out there. I am not complaining. I am merely stating a fact. After a week of constant precipitation, I had given up trying to limit the mess my housebound children left in their wake, but when the sun finally did emerge, I encouraged Kiddo to go outside along with Lamont while his brother napped so that I might focus on interior damage control.
As I tidied up inside I heard the distinctive whirl of a saw blade spinning in the garage. Kiddo must have come up with another building project for he and his father to work on, I thought while tuning the sound out of mind. A building project meant I would have at least another hour to myself. Sure enough, roughly an hour later, the door burst open and in walked Kiddo. He proudly held up a piece of scrap wood cut roughly a foot long. A plastic spoon was attached by tape on one end with a plastic fork on the other.
“It’s my invention,” he bragged. “With this you don’t have to lose time putting your fork down. You just spin it around and you have your spoon!” It’s so easy! His demonstration would have made the most seasoned infomercial marketers proud. I could almost hear him say, but wait there’s more… I tried not to laugh. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that not only did someone else beat him to product launch, they’ve made it more efficient as well. Spork? Never heard of it.
LT woke and playtime (aka demolition derby) once again resumed and the invention was forgotten. Eventually though it was dinner time. As we set the table, Kiddo looked at the flatware next to his plate and then at me. “I don’t need this stuff,” he announced returning the utensils to their drawer. “I’ve got my Spoonandfork! (TM, Patent Pending)” He looked at LT. “Would you like one too?”
Yes, let’s arm the 3yo, who already spends far too much time playing with his food, with a pointy stick, what could possibly go wrong? “Honey, I really don’t think LT needs one of those…” I argued.
You could see it in Kiddo’s eyes. The confusion. How could Mom not appreciate the life-changing potential of his invention? The disappointment. She obviously just didn’t get it.
Kiddo turned to his brother for support. LT stared back. You could hear his thoughts as they formed. Yes, LT wants the pointy stick. Give LT the pointy stick. Kiddo’s smile returned as he found a nearby marker and wrote his initial on the wood. “This one is mine, but I’ll make you one, and when I do, I’ll put your name on it.”
LT stared at his brother in rapt adoration. Kiddo’s grin returned and stretched from ear to ear. At least someone in this house gets it. As Kiddo returned to his spot at the table, I could tell as far as he was concerned, my informal product review was already forgotten – my argument, silenced. Flipping the pointy stick end over end, he eagerly dug into his meal. I am sure that first bite was delicious.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi
If we are lucky, we all will one day make our own pointy sticks. They may seem ridiculous. They may seem like wasted effort. But as long as we keep looking and keep persevering, eventually we might just find the right audience.