As any parent of children knows, and as the creators of Toy Story have gotten rich demonstrating, the little ones love their creative play time. I think parents enjoy this just as much, however, because of the funny, oftentimes bizarre things that come out of your kid’s noggins.
Yesterday, my four-year-old came downstairs from his room after at least 30 minutes setting up a dramatic masterpiece battle scene which we would soon enter. He proudly announced, “Daddy, it’s time to defeat the evil Mr and Mrs Potato Head. They have taken over the room, and they have family in town, so it’s gonna get messy.”
The level of seriousness with which he plays is a paramount feature of the three-foot life, and probably a good reminder that we need to take our play as seriously as our work. We storm the stairs, making our way to the room. When we get there, Benjamin rushes upon the toys like Braveheart leading his Scotsmen into battle.
And then he stops. Pause the action, que flailing hands. Benjamino Spielbergo es no happy.
“No, no, no,” he says emphatically, looking at me. “This is all wrong. You can’t defeat bad guys without music, and we don’t have any music. We need some music to make this work.” I can barely contain myself at this point, but I try to help him find some music. He goes downstairs and borrows the attachment for the crib—you know, the one that plays lullabies and makes nature sounds.
He sets the music maker to Bach’s lullabies and, with delight, says, “Okay. That’s better. We have music, so now we can kill the bad guys.” What ensues is the complete slaughter of every potato and stuffed animal in the western world. The directorial debut of Mr Spielbergo is an epic triumph.
I had so much fun learning how to play again with my son. It’s as if, somewhere along the way working and paying bills and taking care of all the issues in life, we forget how to delight in our play. But, by God’s grace, the three-foot Spielbergo brings me back.