I grew up in a world without LEGO minifigures. I received my first set of LEGO bricks as a Christmas gift in 1973—a wide, white box full of flat, green “grass” pieces, primary-colored bricks, and potential. I constructed houses with doors and windows that opened and closed. I built cars, both the ones illustrated on the box and monstrous contraptions not unlike modern Humvees. And when I needed people, I made them. So did every other kid I knew.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the car this summer. And for much of that time, my six-year-old son has been my constant companion. When I was a kid, getting ready to travel involved books, crayons, paper, and a snack in a Ziploc bag.
Kids play with the law all the time. This summer, countless backyard games of Cops ‘n’ Robbers will end with a cornered cousin or felonious friend being dragged off—temporarily—to the hoosegow. Normally that happens without a trial—Defendants ‘n’ District Attorneys has never caught on with the small set. Even when kids do stage trials, the outcome is never in doubt: you always get a hanging judge and a dire sentence.
Recently, my six-year-old son has taken an interest in learning to cook. For years, he played happily with his toy kitchen, concocting elaborate and dire sounding dishes (broccoli and pineapple soup, anyone?). Now he wants to cook like Daddy.