Olive Us: The Clockmaker

December 10, 2013

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By Gabrielle.

I’m so pleased to share another episode with did with ulive! It’s called The Clockmaker and it’s really lovely. As Ralph explains in the video, in France, all students in the 9th grade (troisieme) do a professional internship. We were so excited that Ralph could intern with Jean-Francois, a clockmaker in our small town.

clockmaker image

After Ralph’s first day on the job, he came home determined that this would make a great Olive Us episode. When we went to explore the shop, Le Diable au Cadran, we too became mesmerized by the possibility!

Thankfully, Jean-Francois was very open to the idea as well. He was such an easy-going, creative and fun person to work with, and his shop is really something to experience. I’m sure it has something to do with all the gears, dials, faces, hands, and tools — plus the ever present tick-tocking. We love how the video turned out. And we love that Ralph was able to experience in internship while in France. We hope you enjoy it!

P.S. — Would you like to know more about Olive Us? Here you go:

- Find the official Olive Us website here, and subscribe to the Olive Us Newsletter here.
- Find all the posts I’ve written about Olive Us here.
- We’ve collaborated with ulive for 20 episodes, you can find the Olive Us page on ulive here.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Grace@ Sense and Simplicity December 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm

What an amazing experience that must have been for Ralph. Clockmakers seem so old-fashioned and are likely a dying breed with our digital clocks and watches and the use of cell phones instead of watches. I’m glad he had that opportunity and I look forward to watching the video.

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2 Design Mom December 11, 2013 at 9:32 am

I thought the same thing! Before we met Jean Francois, I sort of imagined there were only a few clockmakers left in the world — and that they probably lived in Switzerland. : )

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3 susan December 10, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Oh how I wish they did the internship here. I loved this. I also just watched saying good-bye to France. Breathtaking and very sniff, sniff, sad…

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4 Design Mom December 11, 2013 at 9:34 am

I think the internship program is so smart! It’s really quite short, so it’s not a big burden to anyone, and it’s such a great way for kids to interact with responsible adults in their community.

And the Saying Goodbye video — I can barely watch it! Lots of tears every time. So glad you saw it. I’ll be sharing it in a couple of months here on Design Mom.

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5 Amy3 December 11, 2013 at 11:52 am

I agree, the internship program sounds great and I wish they did that in the US too. A fun, informative way to see what work is really like.

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6 Pam December 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Oh, this was so good! I have to do a bit of catching up on Olive Us episodes as I didn’t know that I could already view them here in England. I just have to tell you that you have the most charming kids! Great work! I’m so looking forward to see the US edition.

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7 Pam December 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm

“seeing” the US edition…typo…

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8 Design Mom December 11, 2013 at 9:35 am

We were so relieved when they became viewable outside the U.S.! Have fun catching up.

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9 Em December 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Someone should really tell Ralph Blair that my 7 year old son thinks he is the coolest person ever. I wish I could thank him for being such a great role model, does he realize he’s doing that?

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10 Design Mom December 11, 2013 at 9:35 am

You’re so kind to say so, Em! I’ll be sure Ralph sees your comment.

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11 grania December 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Don’t they do internship at at all in USA? Here in Germany most kids do two internships, either in 9th or 10th grade and 11th or 12th grade – mostly two weeks running. And they have to write a quasi professional report and analysis at the end as well……
My husband often has young interns in his motor maintenance shop, so I get to know it from both sides….

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12 Design Mom December 11, 2013 at 9:36 am

I imagine there are some schools that have a program like this, but it’s definitely not a nationwide program like in France. I didn’t know it was a German tradition too!

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13 Megan M. December 10, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Ralph is just adorable. And you’ve afforded him and the rest of your children the most wonderful experiences! I’m jealous.

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14 Design Mom December 11, 2013 at 9:39 am

Thank you, Megan.

I’ve been thinking about this topic. I do feel like we’ve been able to put a wide variety of experiences in front of our kids. But there’s always a trade off, you know? I lived in the same place through elementary, middle and high school and it gives you a chance to form deep friendships — but my kids are having a different experience. Sometimes I wonder about the “other life” we would have had if we settled down in New York and our 8 years there turned into 12, then 16, then 20.

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15 Beth December 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm

WONDERFUL!!

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16 Celeste L. December 10, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Now that’s an ambitious internship! I just adore Ralph.

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17 susandesprez December 11, 2013 at 2:12 am

very poignant….so sweet. i look forward to this next year for my oldest. beautiful films—I just watched about 10 and will watch the rest as soon as i can! xo

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18 Design Mom December 11, 2013 at 9:40 am

How fun, Susan! I hope your child finds a great internship.

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19 Angela Noelle December 11, 2013 at 3:28 am

I watched this a week or so ago — when you announced these would be available to view outside the U.S.? This was the first episode I watched, and I LOVED it. It had me hooked, and clicking through each one, watching them with my girls. They have such a charm to them!

I have also thought of it since, because we got a Christmas book from the library that I think you’d enjoy (if you haven’t devoured it already) — The Watchmaker Who Saved Christmas, by Bruce Whatley. The stylised illustrations are delicious, and the story is refreshing in its particulars and twist on the norm. Spoiler: a young human isn’t the one granted the backstage pass this Christmas Eve! Alright, heading over to comment on the post about *your* favourite Christmas book! …

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20 Design Mom December 11, 2013 at 9:41 am

Oh hooray! I’ve been looking for a new Christmas Book this year but hadn’t found any recommendations that stuck with me. The Watchmaker Who Saved Christmas sounds adorable. I’ll go check it out!

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21 cath December 11, 2013 at 7:36 am

Well I’m a 9th grade teacher here in France, and I have to say I wish my students’ reports were videos like this one! Ijust loved it so much. Bravo Ralph! You’d get a 20/20 from me!
About school, I was wondering if Ralph and Maude are behing in Maths in the US, as you feared they might be. I’m wondering because I’m thinking of sending my daughter to stay with my American best friend for a semester. What do you think? Should I make her study in advance?

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22 Design Mom December 11, 2013 at 9:41 am

The 20/20 made me laugh! The grading system is so different in France.

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23 carole December 11, 2013 at 8:53 am

Love this!

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24 Lisette Wolter-McKinley December 11, 2013 at 11:01 am

What a fantastic opportunity for Ralph. Your children are so fortunate for all these amazing experiences.

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25 JessK December 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Ralph is such a snazzy dresser! Such a breath of fresh air compared to baggy jeans and sweatshirts most boys his age wear. I bet there’s more than one girl who has a crush on Ralph Blair!

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26 Colleen December 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm

So cool! I love classic trades like this and it’s so cool that the kids in France have an opportunity to do an internship and get a feel for real-world careers.

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27 kirsten December 12, 2013 at 9:41 am

I loved this. The thought of spending my days in a small, cozy space with a window looking out onto the world, surrounded by the intricate workings of delicate, precise machinery…something about it beckons and seems so calming.

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