I was invited the other day into a child’s play. What I mean is, I was in a classroom of preschoolers and there was a bright-eyed little girl who as playing by herself at the Lego™ table. She wasn’t building anything specific, just sorting through to find all the square-shaped blocks. She looked up at me and said nothing. So I pulled up a chair since the Lego table was so low to the floor and not at a height comfortable for this grown-up’s back, and I sorted the blocks with her.
At a certain point I started to put one of the small blocks on top of the other slowly building a colorful tower. When the structure got to be about a foot high or so, the little girl was intrigued and asked me, “can it go higher?” I said, “Let’s find out!” And so we did.
We took turns, sometimes it was one block and others it was two or three at a time placed atop the last. Sometimes we looked for a specific color to add and sometimes it was just what was in our hands at the time; no rhyme or reason to a color scheme at all–I took my cues from her. When the tower grew higher than her reach, the little girl pulled a chair over and took a step up. She’d carefully place the piece on top and then hold her hands around it, inches from touching it, willing it not to fall over. Each time the tower stayed in place she clapped her hands, jumped off the chair, and looked for more blocks to add.
When there were no square blocks left in the pockets of the Lego table, we were done. She’d placed the last block, jumped off the chair, held her hands up to me for a high “ten” and we cheered. No words spoken between us this whole time. However, as our celebration was eyed by the other children and grownups in the room, this little girl looked up at me and, with a twinkle (or the devil) in her eyes, said, “Now what?! Knock it down?” Well, who was I to make that decision? I looked back at her a shrugged my shoulders, maybe I thought, but didn’t say. And with one poke of her index finger down it came.
Looking back on it later that day, what I found most fascinating about the entire process, was this little one’s focus. She was so intent and single minded about the task that she didn’t care that I’d inserted myself in her game. I found myself at one point, also fully and solely focused on what we were doing; so much so, that when I realized how intentional I was in the moment, I was completely taken by surprise. It felt almost surreal.
Kids teach us more than we realize most days. The first lesson I learned from my Lego tower building: it’s important to play every day. Got that grown-ups, play every day! Do something that feeds your soul, your creativity, your energy; whatever you want to call–just make sure you do it.
The second lesson: to be, quite literally, in the moment. I’ve heard this message hundreds of times; be fully present, be in the moment, of what you’re doing. There really is no such thing as “multitasking” if you’re in the “moment”. Your brain cannot hold two thoughts at exactly the same time, so really there is no choice but to be in the moment that you’re in.
Thanks today goes out to the little girl at the Lego™ Table.