“I will build the best car I can!!”
In the statement above one very important piece is missing. Best in terms of.. what? Speed? Safety? Acceleration? Comfort? Track day? Slalom? Drag?
I could go on. You can get some of those things together, but not all of them.
You cannot build universal car suitable for every situation - I think that’s kind of obvious. What came to me as a surprise was how much every single detail matters. I will give you an example.
That day was the last track day of season ‘19 for me. I tried to apply some tweaks to make better lap times and I also adjusted stiffness of all four shock absorbers. It improved situation so much that I managed to end up in 3rd place in the class. Happy with the results I came home and left the car over the winter.
Next season came and I simply took the car for a spin. Car felt quite different. It was bumpy on the country road, reaction to steering was also weird. I decided it was due to the long time spent without driving the car so I simply forgot how it feels. After some kilometers I started feeling pain in my back. I completelly forgot I changed the stiffness of the car last year and now this came back to me in a form of a pain :D Simply this made me realize that all these details matter much more I was ever able to anticipate. And that neither of the worlds’ car manufacturers will ever build the “best” car.
Dad, do I really need it?
Have you ever heard someone saying “why do I need to learn all this math?” When I was at high school I always said this to my mom. I couldn’t say I hated math, but the things which I need to learn instead of just being able to grasp on more or less intuitively always bothered me. I was lazy and I did not want to put even a bit of effort in anything what didn’t really intrigue me enough.
That was the case with my math. As a kid I just culdn’t understand when will I need to use all the fancy trigonometry. Tangents and arccosinuses, calculating properties of triangles drawn into some circles and much more “crazy shit” teachers were trying to put in us as kids. And only after few years I got to realize how much of the trigonometry I will have to use in my life on my own free will.
Not so long time ago I heard exactly this statement from my fifth grader. “Dad, I hate math. I won’t do this. I will never ever need it!”
This triggered a faint smile in me and I asked: “Do you like the car I’m building?” “Well, yes, of course! It’s so cool!” “And what do you think, do I need the math for that or not?” And this left him thinking about it for a few minutes. He started questioning what and how did I calculate and it was so cool I was able to prove my point with real life examples. He’s still from time to time trying to say he does not like the math. But since then he never ever questioned what for is it good.
And I really think that teaching should be based not only on developing abilities to do one or another thing, but also making sure practical aspect of it will be known and understood. For me personally there’s no better motivation than a real example.
Have you ever heard similar questions from your kids? How did you deal with it?