November 16, 2005

Read the directions!

Categories: Kids

I brought the project for Andrew's (8) Cub Scout pack meeting this evening. The project was a leather wallet with the Cub Scout logo on it; they come pre-cut pieces of leather with a big needle and some lacing. I admit the project was a bit complex, but I thought the boys would like the project. Besides, I photocopied the instructions for everyone.

No one read the instructions.

The boys immediately dumped everything on the tables and started working. Worse, the parents who were helping didn't read the instructions either. They started totally screwing up everything. As I raced around from table to table trying to save the projects, I found a few allies who had exercised their ability to read English. We feverishly got people off on the right track.

As designed, no one finished the project during our meeting, so they'll have to finish them at home. If they read the instructions, finishing a nice project will be straightforward. If not, it will be hellish hours of incompetence and eternal scorn from disillusioned sons.

Just stop running for thirty seconds, read the instructions, and know what you should do next. How hard is that?

(As a funny aside, the dads mostly thought this was a very cool project. "Wow, this is something he'll keep forever. If I had done this as a kid, I'd probably still have it." said one happy father. However, the moms thought it was horrible, "That's hideous. Please tell the boys that these make great Christmas presents for grandfathers..." commented one mother. The Mars/Venus split extends to Cub Scout wallets too, I guess.)

Posted by Tony at November 16, 2005 11:36 PM | TrackBack

1 Comment

This reminds me of a game we played in elementary school. I can't remember if you were in that class or not. The teacher gave us a list of 20 things to do and the winner was the one who completed them first. #1 was "read all 20 activities". Of course no one did that. #10 was something like "stand up and say 'I'm in the lead'". Of course #19 was "ignore all other activities and turn your paper upside down, you are done". It was the most effective thing I've ever read in teaching me to RTFD.

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