A-Men Monday: Adventures in LEGOLAND

Monday, November 22, 2010

It’s A-Men Monday, y’all.

This is our new series. Every Monday this month (Movember), we’ll feature a guest post by a great dad. Today’s Fab Father spotlight is on Chris Raymond, a freelance writer/editor and the proud father of two boys, talking about those old school building blocks of creativityLEGO.

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Adventures in LEGOLAND
by Chris Raymond

My son Adam lost his first tooth last month. I was sitting on the couch, watching a college football game, when it happened. He was playing on the floor at my feet. He looked up at me, his eyes wide with fear. “I think I just hurt myself,” he said.

“Where?”

“My mouth.”

He reached inside, plucked the tiny ivory tooth from his tongue, and handed it to me.

“Were you biting on a Lego,” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied sheepishly.

I smiled and congratulated him on reaching this new milestone in his five-year-old life.

It seems only fitting that Lego played such a pivotal role in this latest right of passage. For the last year, ever since he received his very first Lego set for Christmas, Adam has been obsessed with the blocks. I can’t say I blame him. I remember loving Lego myself when I was a boy. But I’m amazed at how much the toy has changed.

The Lego kits I owned in the seventies were crammed with bricks. They included a few doors and windows. Maybe a windshield and four tires. The masterpieces I assembled all resembled trailer homes.

Today kids can build the Taj Mahal. Yes, that’s right. The Taj Mahal! For $299, they receive 5,922 blocks that allow them to sculpt their very own jewel of India complete with finials, minarets, and domes.

They can also create spaceships and submarines, race cars and rescue trucks, the Millennium Falcon, pirate ships, and the Eiffel Tower—not to mention a diverse race of richly compelling figures to populate them.

Unlike, say, Thomas the Tank Engine, Lego isn’t some fleeting passion. It sweeps the boys of the world up just as they hit kindergarten and can hold them in its awesome sway until they reach high school … when they discover the magic of real cars and, of course, girls.

In fact, many never lose their love for Lego. Each year, thousands of middle age men meet at the Dulles Expo Center in Northern Virginia to sharpen their skills and show off their latest creations at BrickFair—“the greatest Lego Fan Festival in the USA.”

This should frighten me. But it doesn’t. The truth is ,I look forward to each of Adam’s new Lego sets. There’s something richly rewarding about building SpongeBob’s bright orange, 425-piece pineapple home with my son. And I’m happy to invest hours of my free time to do it. It appeals to the problem-solving center of my brain, the part that rises to a creative challenge. I worry, in fact, about the day when Adam will no longer need my help. He knows by now how to follow the directions.

In a broader sense, I see what the wonder of Lego has done for him. He has never been the sort to lose himself in a task. I used to fear that he lacked imagination. If I did not sit with him and initiate some form of play, he was at a loss for what to do.

I’m a dreamer. When I was his age, I could sit for hours with a stack of construction paper and a box of crayons. He’s more of an engineer. Even at the tender age of two, he preferred our home computer to the television. It responded to his touch. He has always loved exploring how things work.

Lego has bridged our two worlds. We visited a museum in my hometown of Scranton, PA, last spring to see an exhibition of Lego sculptures by Nathan Sawaya.

©Nathan Sawaya, BrickArtist.com

 

We’ve logged on to YouTube to watch scenes from classic movies—Star Wars, The Godfather, Jaws—recreated in Lego. (Violence is oddly neutered when rendered in Lego bricks. If you don’t believe me, try out the brand’s Star Wars video game.)

We’ve built our own virtual Taj Mahals using Lego’s ingenious digital design software. There’s no end to what you can dream up with the building blocks invented in 1949 by Denmark carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen.

And, thanks to those shared experiences, Adam now sees a universe filled with possibilities. He wants to go to the Legoland amusement park in Carlsbad, California, one day soon.

Eighteen-foot-tall Lego giraffes? A 1.1 million-brick bust of Albert Einstein? Scale models of Mount Rushmore?

I might just have to take him there.

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You can follow Chris Raymond’s adventures on Twitter at @CRay65.

3 Comments
  • 1
    malpaxq says:

    http://infobot.pl/r/1SDc – Click on that. thers so many photos of stars, like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and lots more.

  • 2

    I always loved Lego as a child, despite being a girl! We went to Legoland in Denmark when i was little and that was pretty exciting! I love how you can make so many things out of Lego, and i always tried to copy the masters, but i never had enough of the right colour!
    I love that picture of the yellow Lego man, really cool!

    • 2.1

      Thanks for reading, bluecloverbelle. Yeah, LEGO is endless fun. Looking forward to getting into all of it when my son gets a little older.