Everyone loves pie, but do you enjoy Raspberry Pi? Yeah, I didn’t think so…
Several years ago, a friend invited me to tag-along with her to her son’s S.E.A.M. Workshop (Science, English, Arts, Music) at his school.
One of the science stops was the Raspberry Pi presentation. I didn’t know what it was, or ever heard of it so that automatically piqued my interest! After listening a grip, and taking photos, I researched it further on the ye old Internet using my Goodigilence (yes, that’s an Urban Dictionary word)
Here’s what my research yielded.
The Raspberry Pi is a series of small single-board computers developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and in developing countries. The original model became far more popular than anticipated, selling outside of its target market for uses such as robotics. Peripherals (including keyboards, mice and cases) are not included with the Raspberry Pi. Some accessories however have been included in several official and unofficial bundles.
According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, over 5 million Raspberry Pis have been sold before February 2015, making it the best-selling British computer. By the 9th of September 2016 they had sold 10 million.
As usual, this phenomenon reached across the pond to the United States and it’s schools. And then I reminded of a childhood toy that set me up for future success that initially HATED!
That’s right, y’all.
I absolutely hated a gift given to me. Well, at least initially. You see, it was my birthday so I was quite clear on what I wanted as a teenager (thinking on it I’m pretty sure I was 13 or 14 years old) I requested G.I. Joe Action Figures, LEGO® kits, and that was it.
I unwrapped one of my gifts from my Dad with great anticipation of one of those aforementioned toys. What I saw in front of me amongst the crumpled gift wrap was …
160 In One Electronic Project Kit by Science Fair – are you kidding me?!
My Dad smiled while my face was red with anger.
“Why this, Dad?” I exploded.
Dad composed himself, “Because Son, you’ll need to learn how electricity works sooner or later. Might else well be now with me around to guide you.”
“This is bullshit. Why can’t you be like every other Dad?”
“I’m the best Dad you’ll ever have,” he answered flatly.
I grumbled wryly, “You’re the only Dad I’ll ever have.”
“That’s true,” Dad retorted. He suggested, “Why don’t you try reading the instructions on one of the easy experiments, and go from there?”
I stormed into my bedroom that I shared with my little sister, toting this gift like an albatross on a ship to pout. My Dad let me cool off for a moment or two before entering the bedroom.
“Son,” he explained. “We live in a society that is dominated by electricity and the devices powered by it. You’re a very intelligent young man, and you’ll be grateful for this lesson later on in life. If you understand the fundamentals of electricity then you’ll know how to operate, fix, and maintain a majority of things. Trust me.”
“Fine,” I cry.
I resigned to the situation because there was no changing it by exchanging this gift at Toys R Us. I struggled mightily with the first couple of ‘projects’ because electricity is an absolute. Either it works or it doesn’t. Up to this point, I’ve been conditioned that while some items I used were not operating at full capacity, at least they were operating.
Eventually, I was able to complete all the easy projects, then progressed to the advanced, and whatnot. And yes, I did so on my own. No matter how many tantrums of frustrations I exhibited, my Dad refused to step in and complete it.
“Son, in life, you’ll discover that the only resource you’ll have is yourself. So, read the instructions again. Walk yourself through them carefully, and then you’ll have the confidence to tackle anything on your own. If you have questions of clarification, I’ll answer them but only to help you along the way.”
True to his word, he didn’t step in. And yes, I completed ALL 160 projects. Now you can trust me when I say I KNOW how electronic devices operate and the electricity works. Which brings me to my point … (I can hear you groaning now, “Finally! The point of my rambling”)
When my DJ gear doesn’t work, I know how to troubleshoot my own technical issue because of this toy that I hated from minute one, but learned to love it by minute done. Or when my car doesn’t work, or when a GFI I’m trying to wire in my home isn’t working, and so forth.
Once my eyes landed on the #RaspberryPi experiments in the classroom of Sky Valley Education Center, I was relieved that the future generations are trying to understand how to operate the machinery, and electronic devices around them that they use on a daily basis.
In fact, they were demonstrative of how they can even manipulate it / them to what they want it to do. The young man who explained his experiment to me was so proud, like I was when I finally conquered the 160 in One.
I remembered my Dad’s words after I completed the last one. “Congratulations, boy. I knew you could do it. You see, I started you with electricity because it’s unforgiving like life. Either it works or it doesn’t. I love you so much and know I won’t be around forever to fix all your problems. My love for you forces me to understand I have a short amount of time before you grow up into a man. So I have little time to teach you how to be a law-abiding, tax-paying, productive provider of this society. You can’t provide until you know how to do so for yourself. That’s my gift to you.”
And there it is, y’all. On my birthday, I received the best gift of all, even though I didn’t realize at the time. I received the gift of knowledge, which tastes better than any raspberry pie I’ve ever tasted.