Coding With Dad: A Win On So Many Levels

I was happily surprised by an email that was a win on so many levels. If you are a teacher, you get to experience these in between the challenges.  Challenges that often make us question why we do what we do.  But when you get one of these, it pumps you up to get right back in the game.  

Read on….

Emails That I Love

I received an email from the father of one of my students who was in my coding camp this past summer. I got it at the end of the day when I was settling back in to do some late night grading. As a college professor, we get to influence students in so many ways.

But when we also get to impact parents too, it makes you aware of how incredibly empowering and influential education really is.  And if it is education wrapped around coding, that is even better!

When I opened the email and began to read it, the biggest smile began to stretch across my face. WOW. A father of one of my coding camp students wanted to tell me what transpired this past summer. (I share part of the quote but kept out his name even though his dad let me use this as a testimonial):

“Hi Fred, I’ve been meaning to write you to express my gratitude not just running an effective camp, but for inspiring my son, on something as meaningful as coding. He spent much of the remainder of the summer working on other programming ideas, which thrilled me because it was something productive without me having to force it upon him”

This is why I LOVE what I do.

Like many kids that I meet and work with in my camps, they are quiet (at first) like I was as a kid.  The boy in this story  was no different but once I introduced  him to the basics, something happened. I will even say something magical happened. He opened up and before you know it, you see a change begin to happen. 

First there are smiles as they work on their project.  Then the exploring of new ideas grow, then they begin asking questions that show they like the challenge and their confidence grows.


The dad asked him to create some kind of game for him to submit as part of a competition on the ESPN Fantasy League that he participates and it just so happens they also have a podcast. Well guess what…..HE GOT RECOGNIZED for this game on the ESPN Fantasy League podcast heard around the globe!!

You can listen to the specific podcast here
(go to the 53:20 on the 9/5/17 episode):

So here is a dad who loves sports, a son who loves to code and they came together to create a fun sports game. There are so many wins on so many levels but most importantly a bond between and dad and his son.

Whether my coding student goes on to continue his coding experience or not at this point doesn’t matter. He will now bring with him for the rest of his life a memory with his dad. Oh….and a game he can always improve on with his coding skills.

I love this story!!

I lost my Dad when I was about to turn 10 years old in the summer of 1977.  I like to think he would be proud of me and my work helping others.  We did build alot together whether Lincoln Logs, Legos, Blocks, or plastic models.  If I had the tools that kids have access to today, I think we would have also built cool things like video games or a tool for work.

If you are a parent, don’t let this opportunity pass by.

If you are not sure how, let me help and shoot me an email.

How can YOU apply these lessons?  Here is how…..

So, if you are a parent and you have a child fascinated with coding whether it is Scratch, Minecraft, HTML, Java, or Python, etc. why not find something you are interested in such as baking, DIY projects, or even a task at work, and then approach them with an idea to have them build a program with you.

  • You can tell them they are the developer and you are their customer.  
  • Pass them the 'requirements' of what you are interested in seeing them build and then work it with them as they create it.
  • Pass them the 'requirements' of what you are interested in seeing them build and then work it with them as they create it.
  • Maybe if it is something they build for you at work, arrange a day where you bring them in and and show it off to co-workers!!! Don't worry if it isn't perfect or do exactly what some app on the internet does. That will come in time.


In college we call this ‘engaged scholarship’ at home we call it family time.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads! Mr Fred


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