At their core, Legos are standardized pieces of colored plastic. Attend any birthday party for a kid under 12 and there will surely be a Millenium Falcon or a Saturn V rocket or maybe just a cool monster truck. In each case, numbered bags and detailed directions allow them (often with hours of advanced Ikea-help from Mom) to put it all together exactly like the picture.
Does it then get diassembled and put into the parts bin, poised to create a one-off masterpiece? Are you crazy! You’ll never get it back together the right way again! Does it get thrown away with the other cheap plastic toys? Are you crazy? Legos are expensive and we could build tons of things with the jet thrusters and monster truck tires. Ironically, the assembled pieces collect dust for decades.
More and more, I want to build Lego monster trucks with jet boosters and a rocket nosecone, and this worries me. We become those we surround ourselves with, and I love spending time with my 2 young boys. Assuming my desire to let my creativity wander is rubbing off on them, then I’m setting them up to be square pegs in a world that seems to progressively endorse round holes.
Most parents are worried about report card aptitude, goals at the soccer game, and college funds… I’m worried about how to set them up for a happy life.
Failure hurts every time. It teaches us where the edges are, and a little about the rules and reprecussions from eclipsing those edges. Adventure and personal growth also resides on the edges. I feel overreaching to apply those norms to my kids without them making the choice for themselves, but I also want to help others on this bumpy uncertain path.
Instruction manuals for life exist…good school grades….good college….good government job… good house with a good partner… good retirement.
What if you wrote your own manual, followed your own path, and surrounded yourself with like-minded others? I hope to find you one day, but if not, hopefully my boys will find you.
[ Photo by Rick Mason on Unsplash ]