Does Having 12 Kids Make You a Better Parent?

Lillian and Frank Gilbreth had a new baby every 15 months.  And, yes, she did know how babies were made!

13 in all.  One was stillborn, another died at age 6.  But the rest, all eleven, survived to adulthood.

Not bad for the early years of the 20th century!

We are impressed ALL the children are looking at the camera!

We are impressed ALL the children are looking at the camera!

Frank Gilbreth is known as the Father of Movement Engineering

What?

He studied motion.  How people did tasks.  His goal was not to make people work faster, but to eliminate unnecessary movements to be more efficient

He tried to find the One Best Way to perform tasks. 

If you’ve ever had surgery, or performed surgery, you have Frank to thank.  It was he who determined surgical nurses should be in the operating room to hand scalpels and other tools to the surgeon.  Previously, surgeons searched for and fetched their own instruments while operating.

What do you think that bucket is for?

What do you think that bucket is for?

Lillian Gilbreth may not have gone to school for engineering, but she agreed with her husband.  Her goal was to help mothers eliminate unnecessary movements to be more efficient and decrease fatigue, therefore finding more time for leisure and creativity.  She called those moments “happiness minutes.

She tried to find the One Best Way to perform tasks.

If you have a trash can with a foot pedal in your kitchen or bath, you have Lillian to thank.

trash can foot pedal

But what about in their home?

Is it possible to eliminate unnecessary movements to be more efficient in a household with 11 children?

Is there One Best Way to raise children?

The Gilbreth home doubled as a real-world laboratory where Frank tested his ideas about efficiency. 

Here are some of the things he tried:

  • Bath time was not for just getting clean, but for learning to speak French and German by listening to language records.

  • He filmed his children washing dishes, studied their movements, then showed them how to reduce their motions and get the dishes washed more efficiently.

  • The children were required to initial process charts showing they had bathed, brushed their teeth, made their beds, and combed their hair.

That doesn’t seem too far out!  We think you have tried some of the very same techniques with your own children:

  • Listening to Rosetta Stone foreign language CD’s in the minivan.

  • Chore charts on the fridge.

  • Showing (over and over) the proper way to load the dishwasher.

Family fun at the shore. Morse code lessons are next!

Family fun at the shore. Morse code lessons are next!

But there’s more.  Frank also did this:

  • Dinner time was not just for eating, but for running through multiplication tables.

  • Irregular jobs, such as painting the back porch or removing a stump from the front lawn, were awarded on a low-bid basis. Each child who wanted extra pocket money submitted a sealed bid saying what he would do the job for. The lowest bidder got the contract.

  • Vacation on the beach was for learning Morse code.

  • When a few of their children needed their tonsils out, Frank had the doctor take ALL the children’s tonsils out.  In their own home. While he filmed the surgeries.  To determine wasted movements, of course.

Ewwww!

tonsils.jpg

Two of the grown up Gilbreth children wrote a book sharing their fond memories of home, called “Cheaper by the Dozen.” 

You can find this book at the library

You can find this book at the library

Does that sound familiar?

The 2003 Steve Martin movie is nothing like the true story; instead it plays on the wacky chaos of a big family.

Funny, but not at all about the gilbreth family

Funny, but not at all about the gilbreth family

The 1950 movie is just like the book, a gentle comedy of the Gilbreth family led by loving, time-management-testing parents.

Funny, and all about the real gilbreth family

Funny, and all about the real gilbreth family

What do you think?

Is there One Best Way to raise children?

We’re certain you have at least one tip that has made life with your children more efficient, with less wasted movement.  Please share with us!

Chemistry is Confusing, and Has Been for Centuries

052311097-student-does-not-understand-st.jpeg

Did you know chemists in the 1700-1800’s were confused by the elements they were discovering?  How are they related?  How can they be organized?

Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev grew up in a Siberian household around 16 brothers and sisters, so he knew a thing or two about confusion!

This isn’t Dmitri’s family, but a houseful of 11 children must have been a bit chaotic!

This isn’t Dmitri’s family, but a houseful of 11 children must have been a bit chaotic!

In 1869 Mendeleev sat down and made flash cards of all 65 known elements.  Surely there is a way to organize the elements in a pattern or chart! 

This is Mendeleev’s actual desk. He slept in his office also, of course.

This is Mendeleev’s actual desk. He slept in his office also, of course.

He sat for hours at his desk moving the flash cards around, until he fell asleep.  He awoke with the answer!  Here’s what he said: 

In a dream I saw a table where all the elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down on a piece of paper.

Dmitri Mendeleev. Chemist. Dreamer.

Dmitri Mendeleev. Chemist. Dreamer.

We cannot succeed in school by sleeping on our notes. And, in reality, Mendeleev had been pondering the order of the elements for over 20 years. See, it takes work to learn or create something!

Joy Lab has a FREE guidebook Unlock the mystery of the Periodic Table. Download it, study it, and end periodic table confusion!

cHEMISTS CAN ALSO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR

cHEMISTS CAN ALSO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR