Posted tagged ‘play’

Lego Language

April 3, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                         April 3, 2017


Our family of ten (Mom, Dad, 3 kids, two son-in-laws, and 3 grandkids!) just returned from Carlsbad, California yesterday after five days of vacationing. The resort we stayed at is directly across the street from Legoland, an unbelievable place of creativity and imagination.

I grew up with Lincoln Logs, wooden planks that could be put together to build…a log cabin! Yes, that was pretty much it! Now there is a plethora of different Lego “pieces!” When our kids were growing up, and were playing with their first Legos, they were able to choose between a block that was rectangular or another one half the size that was square. That was pretty much it! A little more flexible than my 1950’s Lincoln Logs…but not much!

At Legoland I discovered a whole new Lego language has been invented. I felt like an alien trying to order from a dinner menu without pictures!

I trailed the two older grandkids (6 and almost 9) into a “creating room”, filled with tables that contained various pockets of Lego pieces. Jesse and Reagan comfortably plopped onto two seats at one of the tables and started jabbering. I sat between them and looked confused. “I need a body,” Jesse exclaimed like a surgeon hovered over his latest transplant patient. “Here’s one, Jesse!” Reagan passed a Lego piece that was no more than two inches long to him. I sat there like a Basic Math student who had been mistakenly placed in a Calculus class.

“What’s this?” I asked, holding something that looked kind of like an ‘L’, “a leg maybe?”

“No!” Reagan snickered like I’d just told the world’s funniest joke. She didn’t go further, however, and tell me what it WAS, just what it wasn’t!

The two of them were creating Lego hero figures. After a few minutes I figured out what a body was and actually attached another piece to it. Understand that I did not know what the other piece was that I attached to it, but I did make it click into place. For all I knew I just attached a Lego throw rug to my body’s back!

The two builders were enthralled by the whole experience. I was enthralled by their understanding of this new language. I was not a good foreign language student in high school, college, or seminary. Spanish, Latin, and Hebrew were three attempts at being bi-lingual. Each one of them affected my GPA…in negative ways.

And now here was a new, innovative modern language that had no verbs. A generational gap  language that required more than a Lego bridge to cross! And it is amazing! Sometimes when a person is confused the coolest thing is to just step back and watch. In the distant hazy memory behind the two builders I could still see my Lincoln Logs, remembered the hours of happy play I had with them. That was now my connecting point with the “grand creators”, happiness! Happiness is a common language that crosses generations and circumstances.

Outside our creating room I could see a life size Lego person smiling at me! He understood!

Important Lessons At Three Year Old’s Soccer Games

September 14, 2011

WORDS FROM W.W. September 14, 2011
I took in my three year old grandson’s first soccer game last Saturday morning. The men’s bible study group I lead extended some grace to me and pushed me out the door so I could catch the second half of a delightful time.
Three year old soccer isn’t about the game, as much as the experience and the post-game snacks. My grandson had a hat trick- two goals in the other team’s net and one in his own. He was all smiles no matter what. As long as there was a net on the back of the goal he was all giggly.
I learned a few things as I watched and savored.
It’s okay to have fun playing a kid’s game, even though adults are watching. Kids have fun playing when there aren’t any adults watching; and sometimes kids have no fun when adults are watching. It’s possible…just possible…if the parents can allow it…for the kids to have fun even when mom and dad are there. Sometimes the church needs to become more child-like and less childish, more laugh-filled and less demanding.
It’s okay to pull to the side for a moment even when the game is still going on. Our grandson, as well as many others, would take a tumble, get up and run over to mom or dad to get some consolation about the fact that he had some grass stain on his “waist high” socks. After his parents assured him that it would be okay, he was back at it. It was more like a pit stop during a NASCAR race. The race went on, but it was okay for him to stop for a brief intermission. It made me think of how infrequent my own pulling to the side happens.
In 3 year old soccer there is no “Them and Us”. If the ball is going towards the other team’s goal there was a fifty-fifty chance that the team on the defense will keep kicking it in that direction. Three year old’s aren’t as aware of the right direction as they are of their right foot. Right and wrong have been defined in different ways. “Right” is stopping and helping someone back on his feet, or saying how nice his shoes look. “Wrong” is pushing or hitting another player who has fallen on top of the pile; or saying something mean. In other words, right and wrong have not been defined by the white line boundaries, or which goal to shoot on, or even refraining running onto the field to help stop the ball even though you aren’t in the game. A soccer game with three year old’s is more about grace than law, freedom than constraints.
In a soccer game played by three year old’s there is joy. One of the coaches had tied a smiley face balloon to the top of their goal. The result was that both teams were often heading towards the smile. Three year old’s are attracted to joy. I need to learn that as a principle of life: Aim for joy. Detour away from scowls and disgruntlement. I need to consider the question: What really brings joy to my life?

And so it ended! The game was over. Not one of the three year old’s knew what the score was. I’m sure a few parents probably did, but most of the observers also saw life lived on a smaller field with excitement, delight, and laughter.
May the adult generation get a sense of that as we play on our larger fields!