Remember that scene in Back to the Future II (of course you do) where Elijah Wood and Repair Technician 2 (credited) fix the Wild Gunman arcade game in the Cafe 80’s? One of the kids says “my dad taught me how to fix these” as he pushes it back into place. When I watched this movie as a young electronics geek who loved schematics and wires, I remember thinking “I’ll teach my children the basics of electronic service and operation, because 2015 is when it will be cool.” I based this on my extensive experience in taking things apart. We young neighborhood dwellers usta go up and down the streets looking for old electronic stuff to disassemble. The day one of us got a shock from an abandoned JCPenney TV was the day we decided to maybe cool off a little on the near death electronics hobby, which is the day we switched to fireworks. Another post for another day, I suppose.
Flash forward 25 years and my future is now. Mac and his cousin were out in the cold garage taking old laptop computers apart until they couldn’t feel their fingers anymore. Rest assured the loss of sensation was from the ambient temperature and not an inadvertently discharged capacitor. They disassembled like it was Johnny 5 (another nuanced 80’s reference likely lost on any normal person). I was so proud as they switched from philips-head screwdrivers to side-cutting pliers, because how else do you show an antique circuit board who’s boss? They had fun, and I had fun checking in and saying things like “please don’t use my drill again because that liquid crystal display is full of liquid that probably isn’t good for you to touch, breathe, eat, etc.”
While I’m experienced at disassembly, I have very little repair/assembly experience. Maybe that’s why it looks like they ran over these old laptops with a skateboard. Then again, that could be because they ran over them with a skateboard. I didn’t teach them that. I’m pretty sure it’s hard wired in there already. Just don’t switch to fireworks too soon and remember to unplug it before you take it apart. And, as my friend Sparky is always trying to say, “don’t forget to discharge your caps.”
I suppose this is a good time to remember that they’re always learning, always looking up to their parents for some kind of guidance, whether fixing vintage electronics or making wise decisions. Yep, here it is: the turn to the wider implication. Teach them about Jesus. Show them Jesus. Teach them about faith, patience, joy, honesty, sin, redemption, and what it’s like to be full of grace. When that doesn’t work (it often doesn’t) show them again about forgiveness. This is the stuff that really matters. And no, they don’t have to use their hands.