Our 11 year old boy needed to make an invention for a special assignment in the middle of April. We knew this somewhat dreaded day was coming because his sister had to do the same thing two years before him. For weeks, the dinner table conversation as well as all the outings in our life considered this. What does one invent? It's funny how when the time comes, all we hear is white noise in our heads. But, while out shopping one day, inspiration came at Walmart of all places. He would see patterned LED automotive lights and jump excitedly like he does sometimes when he's had too much sugar. The light-bulb had lit in his head and the Pedal-Lit was born. Getting the invention to work took some failure (this was idea number two), and to reach usability, it took lots of tinkering. He played with battery types, wires, had a friend show him how to use a soldering gun, He created displays, made a light tester, learned about taking a marketing photo, produced a video and tried different adhesives to get the lights to stick cleanly. He worked on a name that would roll easily off the tongue. It was a production, but he knew it was a good idea, because his dad had been hit from the side while commuting one dark morning. This would make him visible to the groggiest of drivers.
The invention would do well winning his school contest and then Peter receiving high merit at The Connecticut Invention Convention. Another kid won the patent and I could see the disappointment in his face. Disappointment was short-lived. On this overcast, early May morning, his sense of "loss" was wiped clean when he placed the pedal-lit on his head. He would pull away from the house looking like a flying saucer was atop his head. His invention worked! He would ride down the street and I could see him from far away. He had learned the value of success. A mother's pride never runs dry, seeing his well-lit journey from home to school made for a Monday morning one could truly smile about. His future is bright.