This is not a sponsored post (I’m sure Lego is doing very well without sponsored posts!)
When my son, Jake, was 4 years old, he discovered Lego. Now 6, Lego is one of his great passions and one that I’m happy about. The teacher in me loves it because Lego-building helps children to develop a variety of skills. As a parent, I love the way it brings Jake and I together as we both enjoy building with it. I’m also grateful for the life lessons I have learned through the presence of Lego in our home. Who knew these little bricks could be the vehicle for such wisdom? I wanted to share some of these nuggets with you today.
Make the Best of Things For a long time, Jake had his heart set on getting one of those enormous $300+ Star Wars Lego sets for Christmas or his birthday, despite my telling him that that wouldn’t be happening. I think he has now accepted that he won’t be getting one and instead contents himself with studying the large Star Wars Lego boxes when we go to department stores and pretending to be on EvanTube. (EvanTube is a popular YouTube channel in which a boy explains the features of different Lego sets and films himself building them in time-lapse, commentating all the way through.) Jake plays JakeTube with the Star Wars Lego sets while I browse the homewares department.
Dream Big One day, on our way home from a shopping trip for Jake to spend his pocket money (on Lego), he said “Wouldn’t it be great to be rich?” I asked him what he would spend his fortune on. He replied that he would buy one each of all the different Lego sets in the world and also build a house out of Lego for our family to live in. I made a comment that the house probably wouldn’t be watertight in the rain but that was, apparently, irrelevant.
Everything is Figure-out-able This is something Marie Forleo says and it’s something which is well demonstrated by Lego. When Jake and I are trying to rebuild a set together, there are inevitably a few pieces missing. I get somewhat frustrated and disappointed not to be able to make the set exactly as the instructions say and spend ages rummaging through all the pieces to find the missing one – to no avail. While I’m doing that, Jake uses his flexibility and creativity to find a substitute piece that will make it work and gets on with finishing the build. (It’s a lot like Grand Designs – the idealist architect and the practical builder.)
There is a gift in every challenge When Jake and I were building our own creation yesterday, he accidentally knocked over one of his containers of Lego, scattering tiny pieces over the floor of his bedroom. Having just helped him to sort and tidy his Lego, I groaned but then I spotted the perfect piece for our creation lying amongst those on the floor. In his wisdom, Jake said, “If I hadn’t knocked the container over, we wouldn’t have found the piece we needed. There’s always something good when something bad happens”. What a sage.
Leave your mark on the world The inevitable trail of Lego pieces around the house used to drive me nuts. “If you love your Lego so much”, I would ask Jake, “why don’t you look after it better?!” The truth is, there are so many pieces and some are so small, I don’t think even the most organised adult could avoid misplacing some occasionally. Then, one day, I found a piece of Lego…in the freezer. Jake’s younger brother must’ve helped with tidy-up. I couldn’t help but smile. Now, when I step on a piece of Lego, I think of Jake and all the fun he must’ve been having with it and I’m almost happy to find bricks in strange places to be reminded of how much joy it brings him…Which leads me to my last lesson –
Have joy marathons At times, Jake disappears into his room for hours to build Lego. For him, Lego building is almost a meditative activity – it puts him “in flow” and the rest of the world stops for a while. When he emerges, he’s calm and happy, filled with the joy of time spent Lego-ing. All that joy has got to be good for him. (And after a Lego marathon is the perfect time to ask him to set the table.) He got a lot of Lego for Christmas and his birthday recently. According to Jake, he can never have too much. And, really, we can’t have too much joy in our lives.
These are great lessons to be reminded of but, you know, I’ve realised that the wisdom hasn’t come from the Lego at all. It has come from my son. Lego has been a vehicle through which Jake has passed on his wisdom to me. This reminds me of a post I wrote in the early days of my blog called How Our Children Raise Us. That was a pretty hefty blog post but what I didn’t quite realise back then was that some of the most important lessons would arise in the small moments and idiosyncrasies of life with our children. This is the biggest Lego lesson of all.
Much love to you and your little souls,
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