I have just spent the last two weekends with my daughter learning how to weave, knit and crochet with metal. My daughter even learned how to use an acetylene torch – with the eagle eye of the instructor watching her while my eagle eyes were fiercely averted. I felt no need to learn how to use the torch, and even less desire to see my daughter wield the flame. My daughter was eager to learn the new skill and was competent enough on her first try to work her second project unattended.
For the majority of the class we sat side by side, occasionally speaking, but mostly working in concentrated silence. We each took opportunities to interact with the other students, and my daughter even switched tables once in order to learn something new from a fellow student. There were times of abundant laughter and times of awkward silence in the class, but never did my daughter and I regret our seating arrangement.
We shared tools, commented on each other’s projects and gave each other pointers. When she looked tired, I reminded her to drink some water. When I looked uncomfortable, she asked if I needed her to get me something.
We created quite a bit of interesting work. We each tried new things, but then gravitated to our comfort zones when tired. She wove with metal using multiple techniques; I played with knitting and crochet. Most of the time our color pallets clashed, but oddly at the very end we were using not only the same color pallet but utilizing the same technique to create strikingly different objects.
Is it luck that my teenaged daughter and I can have such positive experiences together? No it is not luck. It is lots of time, planning and work. It is a full time job with great benefits and the very best of pension plans.