No matter how we try to remain focused on the right things, the inundation of the commercial forces into every venue of everything (even the advertisements of local businesses in the church bulletin) always seems to muddy the view, to distract and stress and worry and dramatize every moment.
But some things can't be spoiled, some things are really so pure and powerful that no normal outside force can distract. I have been blessed to have a few of these events in my life. While I do as we all do and get by, once in a while I feel that I am given an opportunity to justify myself as a little more than that. To leave an indelible mark on the world, a mark that shows something positive in the balance book of society. It might not be earth-changing, but it still is something. In particular, I have been blessed to guide my three children, each at a very young age, in building their first instruments. Assisting only where safety is a concern, finding ways to allow little hands and not quite developed muscles to get every basic job done, interfering only when necessary, teaching on separate pieces of wood and allowing them to be all hands on.
My daughters were 5 and 6 when I started them down this path, now they are 13 and 14 and have built some amazing instruments, now they have built their safety devices and learned to use the big saws and planers and sanders and sharp handheld tools, now they seldom need dad's hands even though they still are kind enough to ask for my mind. Now my son, who is just a few months past his 5th birthday, decided that it was his turn. Like those of his sisters, the first instrument was a lyre. Cael (that's my son) liked the stone carving from Gotland as an image, so we simply scaled it up and printed it to the size he wanted to build, then cut it in half, splined the outlines and made a template. Then he took off, and with only the rough cutting of the body and removal of the playing window material with a big saw, and the resawing the blanks for the tuning pegs and the tailpin and bridge, he pretty much took over.
That is the image journal I kept for this project (I keep a lot of these, especially when working on a new design, no matter which of the family is building). Cael would like it if you stuck around for the little video at the bottom.
Again, no matter what else happens this Christmas, what more could a dad possibly want...