I was impressed when K-12 and Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy gave a history lesson about the folk lore of Saint Nicholas and how he helped 3 poor sickly maidens get married by secretly tossing 3 bags of gold into their window, thus improving their lives for the better (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas). So now whenever I think of what I could give; I ask myself how will this gift improve their life.
Which brings me to the next thing I’m going to get my son for Christmas is a learning set that will allow him to easily learn how to create electronic circuits and use alternative energy (https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00CIXVGVY/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481997040&sr=8-1&pi=SL75_QL70&keywords=alternative+energy+snap+circuits).
I feel these are good gifts because they will give my son hands on experience and working knowledge of what it takes to make a certain amount of energy. So the next time he looks at the power consumption of a device or light he will have a fuller understanding of how much power he is burning. And it will allow his mind to clearly conceptualize how to solve energy problems.
The problems my son’s generation will not be able to avoid are:
Acquiring fuels for transportation when rising interest rates, costs, and environmental impact weight down deregulation and cheap credit. This will also effect natural gas power plants, fertilizers and pesticides, and high torque machinery like chainsaws and tractors. Though, some machinery could have lightweight replacements like snow throwers and battery operated cutting tools, etc.
Rising international tensions, rising stock piles of strategic nuclear weapons that are meant to take out infrastructure (electric magnetic pulse from gamma rays). This worries me because all this sensitive technology like smart phones, satalites, and LED lights may suddenly be useless in an event geopolitical power struggle comes head to head. Not only that but our already aging infrastructure will require experienced workers rebuilding and rewiring some sort of system that allows for the security that lighting brings as well as basic communication, food storage (there are non electric ways around that), cooking, heating/Ventilation/Cooling, etc.
So, in keeping up with Saint Nicholas my heart knows that time spent guiding my son to complete these projects will prepare him to solve expected problems in the future. Also nothing beats hands on experience to give someone the confidence that he/she can provide valuable services and skills in a demanding market.