There is an old Lego ad from the early 1980s. It has a little pigtailed redhead holding her Lego creation. What is it? Honestly, it’s hard to say. It’s basically random Legos snapped together. One of the Lego men has a tree on his head. Needless to say, no architect would sign off on this project. But the smile on this cute little kid’s face says it all.
“Have you ever seen anything like it?,” the copy on the ad reads. “Not just what she’s made, but how proud it’s made her. It’s a look you’ll see whenever children build something all by themselves. No matter what they’ve created…LEGO Universal Building Sets will help your children discover something very, very special: themselves.”
As dads—as adults—it can be so easy to try to step in and tell your kids how things are supposed to go. Trees don’t go on people’s heads! A window doesn’t make sense there! But where will they sleep? Dogs and cats aren’t friends! There is no air in space! We think we are helping or that we are teaching. But really we are stepping on their ability to create and imagine. We may well be depriving them of that beautiful look of pride that the little girl in the ad has—the one that comes from doing something all by yourself. From discovering yourself in the process.
Play time is play time. It’s supposed to be silly. It’s supposed to be fun. There are no rules. None of it matters…unless they want it to matter. So give them some space. Encourage them. Just watch. Let them be beautiful.