Lose the tech, build the Legos, find joy and kindness… and maybe your next big idea
My daughters, ages 5 and 8, have been in remote learning for 5 days now. It’s working, but I worry about the long amounts of time in front of a screen. In an attempt to limit screen time when it’s not for school, I declared 2:00 – 4:00pm tech-free time. My kindergartener couldn’t care less; she found something to do immediately. My 8-year old squabbled a bit. I persisted; after 30 minutes, here’s what I discovered. They were getting along, and even sharing, being kind, and helping each other!
As I watch them build with Legos, this comes to mind:
- Some people can jump right into creativity and some people need a minute: We’re hardwired differently and not everyone will approach a new way of seeing things the same way. Allow space for someone to come along; it’ll be worth the wait.
- Break apart the “mold” and see your imagination open wide: We have Lego kits that have generally been kept together with the instruction booklet. I explained to my 5 year old that you can build whatever you want and don’t have to follow the kit. We dumped the kits to the floor! My 8-year old was mortified screaming “how will we know how to build it?!” My kindergartener giggled with delight as it rained Lego pieces. But a few minutes later, both were creating their own homes – from mishmashed pieces and whatever they dreamt up. An airplane windshield became a shower stall; a canoe became a bed. You get the idea.
- Creativity sparks collaboration: Sure, there was some “No, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be!” and “I need that piece!” But mostly I overheard “Hey, that’s a great idea!” and “Can I switch your piece for this piece I have? With a reply of “Sure!” or “No thanks.” (Look at that – manners!)
- Pay attention to kids – they know stuff you have long forgotten! Don’t lose your inner child. That is all on this one – just go find that silly kid!
Sisters getting along, like friends – like future business partners? Yes, I can see it!
So, dig out those Legos and dump them on the table (figuratively or literally). Go dust off that coloring book. Let down the boundaries and see what you can dream up. I bet you’ll find yourself smiling and feel pretty good, too!