When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Life lessons in Legoland

After an exciting but tiring first week back at school, the boys were happy to have a quiet, leisurely Saturday morning today with time for one of their favourite activities: building with Lego. Noah and Will are both seriously obsessed with the stuff. I have often found myself amazed by how long they can remain intently focused on their construction projects, and by the immensely creative results of their efforts. We have had "Towers of Power" as tall as the boys themselves, movie theatres with stadium seating, a state-of-the-art school, and a 5-star hotel with previously unthought-of amenities overtaking our family room at various times throughout the past few months. Each multi-coloured brick building has a story, as do the little Lego characters within the walls. By watching the boys and talking to them about their creations, I catch a fascinating glimpse of what goes on inside their interesting young minds.

I was pleasantly surprised by one of the boys' recent Lego structures, called "Marcus's Market". (Yes, they name all of their projects, too.) I could tell right away that it was a restaurant by the neatly organized groupings of tables and chairs, the tiny Lego "sandwiches" and "drinks", and the collection of Lego guys sitting around looking like they were having a good time. The diner also boasted a large green patch in the centre, though, and the boys' enthusiastically explained to me that their market served only healthy food that the owners grew themselves. They demonstrated to me a "robot healthy salad maker", and described how their sandwiches were made with fresh veggies and locally produced meats, eggs, and cheese. Both Noah and Will were very proud of the fact that their restaurant presented the little Lego customers with such nutritious offerings.

I often think that when I ask the boys to eat their veggies and explain to them the benefits of healthy food choices that it all goes in one ear and out the other. (The disgusted looks on their faces when they see there is broccoli for dinner certainly makes me think that we don't see eye-to-eye in these matters!) Their choice to carefully craft a healthy restaurant in their play showed me, however, that my messages are not going unheeded. Now, their market restaurant may have had some unconventional embellishments that only imaginative boys would dream up -- apparently it was guarded by a Lego dragon and its chairs and tables had anti-gravity capabilities (!) -- but the idea behind it confirmed for me that it's worth it to keep teaching our kids what we think is important, even when it's challenging. What starts as wholesome Lego lunches today will hopefully turn to good eating when the boys are grown and responsible for making their own food choices.

I will continue to watch with fascination as the boys build their Lego creations in the coming years, realizing that they're not just building structures out of plastic bricks; they're building a foundation of ideas and skills for their future. Now that I know they're on the right track food-wise, maybe I can work on teaching them to negotiate better with each other for the coolest Lego parts....

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