One of the favorite toys around my house is Lego bricks. We are pretty big Lego fans. My wife and I have been to the Carlsbad to visit Legoland twice. We even took the kids with us once. 🙂 For our vacation this summer we only made a quick trip to Atlanta, but our first stop after dropping our bags at the hotel was the Lego Discovery Center. And we stayed until it closed. It’s funny. The boys and I hate going to a mall, but as long as there’s a Lego Store it’s all good. So, you can imagine my excitement when I came across a post on GeekDad about Lego’s 80th birthday. The best part of the post is “The Lego Story” animated short. If the history of Lego intrigues you at all, I highly recommend you take the time to watch the video. It is seventeen minutes long, but it’s well done and worth watching.
As a teacher and dad, I found the following important ideas in the video that I think warrant consideration:
- Resilience – The Kristiansen family faced numerous obstacles on the way to building the Lego company, yet they never stopped bouncing back from the setbacks. They were resilient people. Certainly, there were times when they were down, but they never considered themselves out. They didn’t quit. When their original wholesaler went bankrupt, Lego founder Ole Kristiansen didn’t give up; instead, he decided to take it upon himself to sell his toys. When the company workshop burned down, Ole’s responsibility to his family and employees inspired to rebuild the company and fight their way back into the market. We, too, mustn’t let disappointments force us to quit. We must press on and view problems as hurdles to overcome rather than permanent barriers to achieving our goals.
- Risk-taking – Innovations occurred because the Kristiansen’s took risks. Ole purchased a plastic moulding machine even though it was expensive and their previous toys were all wood constructions. Godtfred Kristiansen, Ole’s son, took a chance by adding system to the Lego bricks allowing children to build toys for themselves. The system of play became so popular that Lego was able to sell the toys outside Denmark. Additionally, he took a risk to build an airport and eventually decided to go all out and build a whole Legoland, which welcomed 600,000 guests its first year. Growth requires risk-taking. We mustn’t rest on our laurels or become complacent and satisfied with things as they are. We must venture into new areas and take chances if we want to develop and mature.
- Embrace the E’s – Kjeld, Ole’s grandson, is now the vice chairman of the board at Lego, and I love the vision he (via his animated self) shares at the end of the video. It’s one we should embrace as parents and educators, as well. He seeks to encourage children to “explore, experience, and express their own world–a world without limits, and we are still convinced that only the best is good enough (excellence) because children deserve the best.” Isn’t that what we want for our children and their learning? If we are “educating for the unknown,” as David Perkins suggests we should, I cannot imagine a better preparation than for students to explore their world, to experience humanity, to express their understanding, and to do it with excellence.
What do you think? What jumped out to you about the Lego story? How do we help our children become resilient risk-takers? What do you think we’d be missing if we educated for the 4 E’s? I’d love to hear your thoughts.