Sunday we made a trip to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn . We’re frequent visitors and have been members of the museum and village for 17 years. If you don’t go, you should. But that’s another post.
They had a special “exhibit” of Lego castle stuff. I put exhibit in those annoying ironic quotes because it was hardly an exhibit. I think my expectations (as well as many others’) were that the exhibit was going to be something it wasn’t. We’ve all seen some of those amazing Lego creations on the internet. Heck, we saw some amazing youth-built Lego creations at the State Fair. That’s not what this exhibit was, but it’s hard to market something with the caveat that says, “Oh, by the way, it’s not at all what you think it is going to be, but come anyway and feel duped.” Anyway, I hope that the thing brought more people to the museum, because that place is always worth the trip.
Back to Lego Land … at one area of the room there were multiple tables set up for kids to build their own Lego creations. Each table was flanked with bins of the building blocks in all shapes and sizes. Around each table stood many very busy children. And here’s a description that some might not like … most of them were boys. (That’s just a reality check and shouldn’t surprise any parent of a boy.) Yes there are some girls who totally get into Legos. But the fact of today’s visit is that those tables were surrounded with more serious boys than girls. The girls were good for a while but the boys were there, in community, building.
The table Henry was working at was all boys with the exception of one little girl. She was very busy and holding her own next to her older brother. There were at least a dozen or more boys at this one spot, and together they formed a sort of Utopian Lego Nation. Peacefully working together.
“Dudes, anyone see this shape?” A bigger boy asked holding up a piece. Searching for treasure, little boy hands dug deep into the trenches of the closest H1N1 infested bin to find that prized piece. Each eager to take part in contributing to that big boy’s vision. Success. Then back to work.
They casually shared stories of their design. Its function. Its form. All standing, quietly building. There was agreement, encouragement and many approving nods as they looked about.
All I could do stand back and admire the comfortable comradery among total strangers — all focused, working with a purpose.
When the boy next to Henry was having difficulty figuring out how to fit a piece a certain way, Henry reached over, put his hand on top of the boy’s hand and showed him how to turn the piece to get the desired positioning. A brief smile of thanks from the boy, and they were back to work.
I felt like I had witnessed a little glimpse of heaven and was just short of tears. For a brief sweet moment, I just imagined what the world would be like if it were run by these generous little boys.
(And no, The Lord of the Flies didn’t cross my mind until later.)