Children learn best while playing. This is not an earthshaking revelation for any observant parent. Children will begin sorting toys by type thus learning to differentiate at an early age. With little boys, this sorting is often “good guys” and “bad guys” while with little girls it is sometimes “babies” and “mommies”. Recent brain research verifies that information “sticks” when there is meaning and significance tied to new information. Children at play make meaning and significance for themselves, often displaying amazing imagination. I love to hear the descriptions our grandchildren use while playing outside at our house. We have an old spring house that Phil made into a play house. A little creek runs next to it – in the old days it ran through the spring house – and the children will prepare “food.” The specialties are soup (mud and water), cupcakes (hickory nut shells), and cereal (pieces of gravel). This play loosely mimics the sequencing of the cooking they see at home – YUM! Children will make a toy from anything.
Legos are an especially imaginative toy to play with. Our granddaughters have recently become very fond of the Lord of the Rings stories and were given a Lego set of the main characters in this J.R.R.Tolkien classic. They play by acting out the stories from the books and make up new stories as they play. Legos are so versatile and interchange from one set to the next. There are Lego sets for just about any interest a child has. Children will combine these sets and form completely new situations and settings with their play.
A guest speaker at our Fellowship yesterday made a meaningful point about Legos. He pointed out that there is something that all Legos have in common. They all have the ability to connect with other Legos. In thinking about this, I realized that there is an important lesson that we can all take away from playing with Legos. We can learn something from play just as our children do.
Connecting with one another makes each of us more significant.
One Lego by itself may be colorful, and even nice to look at, but by itself it is not much fun to play with. When it is connected to other Legos, it has much more use. The character Legos are made up of parts that fit together and can be changed to “re-form” a completely different figure. Yet the head by itself, or the legs all alone are not very engaging. Only when the parts are connected do they become what they were created to be. Even when using plain Legos, the more they are connected, the more significant the result. Blocks built up that don’t have those connectors like Legos are easily knocked down. It takes an effort to destroy a Lego structure!
This is a lesson for families. Each family member is unique and valuable – but when we are connected to one another as a family, we become more significant, more useful, and more COMPLETE! As I see our grandchildren grow and see them relate to their siblings in positive ways, I see the blessing it is that they have each other as sisters and/or brothers. They learn that being loved and having someone to love – connect with – enriches their lives beyond measure.
There may be times when we don’t want to connect as families. We need to remind ourselves and our children that God has purposes for placing us in families. Our strength as a family comes from our CONNECTIONS. As parents and grandparents we are building connections with these children that will help them grow as God’s children.
1 Corinthians 3:9-11 (NIV)
9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Sometime when your children are building with Legos, tell them about the connections God has made in your family.
Next week we will look at Lesson II from Legos – Building the Church.