Gearhead parenting: Spotting and nurturing future gearheads.
By Omar C.
As gearheads, nothing fill us with hope more than finding gearheads among the younger generations, especially when it happens inside the family, so it’s obvious we should not only learn to identify, but also nurture potential gearheads.
Not all of us were born in a family of car enthusiasts, so it’s important to support and inspire the children of non gearhead parents.
How do we spot a future gearhead?
Gearhead children will have their stereotypical hot wheels collection, and show an interest in cars from a young age, but let’s look beyond the obvious.
Here are some signs that your kids might be future gearheads:
They show interest in mechanisms.
Mechanical systems are fascinating for people like us, so it’s only natural for gearhead children to be interested in mechanical contraptions.
They take apart toys and old appliances.
Tinkering is an essential part of the gearhead life and mentality. We like to take things apart, learn how they are built, modify and improve them. Often kids are discouraged from taking things apart, since it’s seen as bad behavior, this is possibly making them stray from the gearhead path of life.
They are constantly asking how things work.
This ties in with the earlier points, learning and working on our projects go hand in hand, and it’s important to value a kid’s interest in learning, especially since technical knowledge is always handy for the car enthusiast.
They read more books than children of their age usually do.
As you can see, there is a pattern here, children who are into cars tend to have a curious and dynamic personality, often exploring and learning about the things they are interested in.
Gearhead children can be easily identified, and with proper parenting and guidance, they will grow into active community members, contributing to car culture and society in general.
How do we nurture future gearheads?
The most important thing is to encourage all children to try some of the typical gearhead experiences, like watching drag racing or autocross events. In a previous Gearhead Parenting installment we discussed how to get kids into cars, but that only covers one side of the issue.
Whether it’s within your own family, or with the neighborhood kids, it’s important to provide a gearhead friendly environment, not shaming the diverse and rich branches that comprise car culture, encouraging the young ones to explore different aspects of the gearhead life. Nurturing a new generation of enthusiasts is an essential part of Gearhead Parenting.
Here are some ways of nurturing potential gearheads:
Talk about cars.
Children are very sensitive to the environment they are raised in, and often they pick up on topics and themes that are commonly discussed and mentioned, so making cars and car culture a frequent topic of conversation will spark their interest in cars and machinery.
Ask them questions.
More often than not, children are the ones that come up to adults in search for answers, but if we turn the tables and ask them about car related topics and preferences, we give them a chance to think and reflect. One example would be asking “What do you think about the GTR?”, the question might seem simplistic, but its vagueness will make the children think and reflect on how they view a popular performance car.
Encourage tinkering and interest in tools.
As we said earlier, tinkering is crucial to the gearhead life, from messing with suspension to rebuilding carburetors. But we all started tinkering with stuff around the house, old appliances, junk in the garage, and so on. We also started to compile a set of tools, gathering what we needed to disassemble whatever we were working on. Kids having their own tool set will not only teach them the value of neatness, it will make them more aware of their belongings. Similarly, giving them old and broken machinery and appliances will entice their curiosity and awaken their gearhead spirit.
Help them build something.
Perhaps this applies only to your own children, but that does not mean it’ s less important, in fact, this may be the most crucial point of all.
A small build project, such as a go kart or a soapbox car, will not only strengthen the family bond, but also teach many life lessons that a school can’t exactly deliver. Responsibility, hard work, critical thinking, and being proud of your success.
In conclusion, nurturing those who will carry on with the gearhead lifestyle and values is the goal of Gearhead Parenting, and it is our duty to spot and help children who show interest in cars and car culture.
What will you do for the next generation of gearheads?