The New York Times recently had a story about the rebirth of the Lego company. The 77-year-old company had slumping sales for years but has recently been doing gang-busters. The secret to its turnabout has been commercial tie-ins to movies and television shows, like Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Toy Story, the New York Times said.
It really bummed me out. The article notes that there is a loss of creativity in kids with the new Lego kits that direct you step by step how to build a particular thing. It said that you'd have a hard time finding just a big box of random Legos these days.
When my brother and I were kids, we had that huge bin of Legos, added to occasionally by a gift of more random little bricks. There were no instructions. We never once built anything commercial. We constructed our own cars, little towns and creative creatures.
Now, we have a few Lego sets that Cash has gotten as gifts and all of them are designed to build a specific thing. That's what attracted him. So even though I'm always trying to encourage him to branch out, he resists and meticulously follows the instructions to build his Sponge Bob Bikini Bottom Express or his Spider-Man web shooter. When he's done, he stops.
It is a sad commentary on our society and a larger trend toward a loss of creativity. It is like our kids are living their lives always drawing inside the lines. While I've definitely thought about this before, this story really hit me hard. Maybe because it set out such a stark example of what is wrong with how we are raising our kids today.
I'm going to go and dump all of Cash's Lego's into one big bin. And tomorrow we are going to start dreaming up our own projects!