Let go

A friend mentioned not long ago that when he and his son build Legos, they follow the package directions and he glues the set together as they go.

Most of the time, if Tuck gets new Legos, he sets right to work building whatever it's meant to be.  But it never stays together long, because he's already imagining other ways for the new pieces to be used.

There are as many ways to do things - to parent, to play - as there are Legos in the world.

Flat surfaces all over our house are covered with creations, windowsills lined with them, rugs strewn with them.  Tuck pursues Lego-ing with a passion.  He’s created a gallery of delicate structures, small colorful bricks stuck together to form whatever his mind conceives.  I am a little ambivalent about it all.  I mean, I love that he's using his imagination, and I am genuinely impressed by his work.  And I am so happy that he is happy.  “Cool!” I tell him when he shows me a new one, but a cascade of conflicting emotions nibble at me.

I've wondered several times this summer whether I should've pushed him to play a sport, signed him up for soccer, registered him for swim team or kept him in karate.  What's the purpose, though, besides making friends and staying active?  He does those things already.

My role as his parent is to support him in becoming his authentic self, not to guide him too far in the direction I want him to go.  And I don't necessarily want him to be the football MVP.  But when my instincts tell me his authentic self makes someone else uncomfortable, I am less confident in my conviction.  Still, there is really no reason for me to try to change my child's interests.  His intensity is a gift, I think, and I thank my lucky stars he has it.

All I can do, really is be the mom he needs today, to let go of the idea that I will determine much of my child’s future, sure of the fact that participation in things like little league or Legos will not have lasting effects.  I value freedom and personal responsibility, and respect the boys' rights to direct their own lives, benefiting from my guidance, I hope.

I celebrate his creativity, and the myriad ways to be a boy in the world, more, even, than stars in the sky.
Or Legos on my floor.
the desk in his bedroom, his favorites displayed (safe from the vacuum, and his little brother)
a gas station
a hang glider
an Angry Bird robot "eggbot" and a space ship
a playground with water features
a snow-capped mountain
a "scary Halloween scene"
 some zip-lining guys
*I took these photos over the course of about one week.


Kristy G said...

I love this post! Tucker sure seems like one master builder ;) We've been asked "When do you think L will grow out of Legos?" Our response, "Hopefully not for a very long time."

Their imagination truly beams when the legos are spread out with different colors and sizes to choose from. I can hardly keep up.

rameelin said...

Oh I also so needed this today! My Braden and your boy- they seem a lot the same :)