When I was in grade school I used to hang out at my best friend, Chris’, house all the time. Chris had this enormous collection of Legos in his basement: pirate ships, knights & dragons, space vehicles. It was an impressive collection, and I liked to look at them every time I was over. Not really because I liked Legos (never really been my thing). It was more the sheer magnitude of the collection and the details that went into it. Honestly, I never once in my life asked for a Lego set. If I did happen to get one here and there, they were quickly forgotten. I don’t have the right kind of mind for Lego. I want to build what is on the paper once, and then leave it like that… FOREVER!
My eldest boy has definitely left me puzzled as he has grown up. He gets Lego sets a few times a year. He usually is rid of the instructions before he has even attempted to put them together, and then he just dips into the depths of his imagination for inspiration. It boggles my mind as much as it impresses me. But he also is a fairly talented artist in his own right. At least, he is to me. I can’t do what he does when he comes up with an image in his head, and then puts it on paper.
Now, my younger boy? I think he thinks more like his daddy. At least, that’s what it looks like so far. He doesn’t draw or color much or particularly well. His idea of building Legos is to coax someone else into doing it for him while he watches and picks out pieces. I usually avoid this myself.
This Christmas, they both got Lego and Lego-like things to do. The eldest got a robotics kit for kids that is like a Lego set to build and then you can program it. The youngest got a Star Wars Lego set. Now, as a business owner who still has a full-time job I am a really busy guy. Still, I make my family the other major priority in my life outside of work. After all, there’s no really point to all the hard work, if I don’t have them. So, this weekend I made it a point to sit down with each of them and just play build for a couple hours. The big guy and I managed to get 1/4 of his robot done (it is really complex). Lil’ guy and I put together his whole spaceship. Well, I put it together as he supervised.
I really enjoyed the entire process with each of them. I focused on how they looked at problems, and what parts of the process they each enjoyed most. And I just did my best to be in the moment and see my boys for the kids they are. It won’t last forever. It reminds me of when my dad used to take time out to do things with me. He didn’t have to do music lessons with me, but those are some of my most favorite moments. Maybe my kids are going to look back 20 years from now and think about building stuff.
Whatever your kids are into, get involved with them: games, sports, drawing, etc. There is nothing more important to your kids than you being a present force in their lives as they grow and develop. Makes me glad we all have martial arts to bond over as well. We have an awesome family program that you could all get into! Come check us out: www.zanshinomaha.com.