When Nathan Sawaya was 9 years old, he asked his parents for a dog, and they said “NO!” Instead of sulking, he built a life-sized dog with his Legos, and the rest is history. An interview of Sawaya in the Post on 9-23-12 described what an “AHA” moment that was for him, giving himself permission to go crazy with his imagination thenceforth. When he dreamt of being an astronaut, he built a spaceship…there were no limits to what he could imagine and build.
He took his Legos to college and hid them under his bunk, but over the years kept building things, even after becoming a lawyer. When someone commissioned him to build something for them, he did it and to great success. When his website crashed from so much traffic, he walked into his bosses office and announced that he was “going to play with toys full time!”
I wonder how many kids give up on their passions and gifts because they are not valued by schools, parents and the culture. It’s so sad that Sawaya had to hide his talents because of feeling judged. Our culture is so obsessed with grades and sports that the dancers, artists, entrepreneurs, writers, poets and even boy scouts are treated as freaks and second-hand citizens. I feel for the non-competitive artsy boys I meet who are excluded at recess at sports-obsessed parochial schools. Even the adult’s friendship circles revolve around who is on whose soccer team. Kids feel less than and many decide to give up their gifts to fit in.
So whether your kiddo is into Legos, comic books, garage bands, anime or some other non-traditional interest, value passion where you find it and by all means support it.