When one of my designs works well, I consider it a work of art. I am driven by the same creative urges that drives a composer, painter, or author. In fact, in addition to doing design work, I am also writing and photographing. It is all the same, creating something out of raw building blocks.
I am still impressed, Frank. My father was an engineer; he was a builder, but he also loved tearing things apart. All of us in the family -- my mother, my sister and I -- all knew full well that once he tore things apart, he didn't quite put things together back.
I've always thought that my youngest son is a born engineer. He is fascinated by the way things work and I often find him taking things apart to see what's inside. Unfortunately, at age five he hasn't mastered the art of putting them back together. But I'm confident that he will in time.
All three of my kids are showing dendencies toward engieering, but my oldest has the clearest direction as to which dicipline.
When he was in sixth grade as a fund raising reward classes got a mechanical pig that walked, stopped, oinked, then walked again. The pigs were going to race with the winning class getting a party. Classes were allowe to modify the pigs, with most adding batteries, or making the feet slide better. My son disassembled the pig figured out what made it stop and oink. He cut the tab off the gear that made it do that, and re assembled the pig. It won before most of the other pigs were more than a third the way to the finish. (There were complaints that this wasn't fair. Unfortunately the school's response was to change the rules the following years to ban modification.)
Is on a middle school robotics team (FLL) and his mechanical knack helped them get to a world championship and take second in mechanical design. Some of the team members who moved to the high school team ahead of him told him that they wished he could have joined that team early.
Good engineers are not stubborn, instead, we are persistant, not giving up, but solving the problem. There are others, though, who ommediately give up and go in a different direction. Those folks should have selected a different profession.
My Father started me reading at age three, he then brought me three sets of books in 1955 my fifth year of age. The books of Knowledge, The books of places and peoples, The books of Things and Procedures. After reading these books by age nine all the incessant questions were avoided. In fact my contribution to the family began at age 4 when I used to read the user manuals of the new cars, then tell my family how to operate the car's features. Once I noticed a tire making a strange noise while the car was moving. Upon close inspection a large bubble was found on the rigth rear tire. A stop at a nearby Firestone dealer got our car an entire new set of tires.
Four years after receiving the books, creativity began to show its face at age six.
The micro-computer was not a flash in the dark mind of a 17 year old but a flame slowly coaxed to hugh fire. The flames continue.
My father is a mechanical engineer. I remember as a kid going with him for a walk to see trains every Sunday. On our way there was this railway substation providing power to the rail grid. My dad knew and explained to me the concepts behind power transforming. The only think he did know were the voltages used - he knew thousands of volts were involved. It took me some time to figure out that the incoming line was 110kV. After that I started dreaming about having one of those transformers in the garden... I remember being asked by some adult (auntie maybe) about what would I really like to get for my birthday - now try to imagine the face of a normal person when a 6 or 7-year-old answers "110 to 15kV oil-cooled 3 phase transformer" :)
I did not go into high power in the end, I do electronics design.