The Saint John’s School 2nd graders went to Legoland last Tuesday. I like Legoland better than Disneyland. There, I said it; I think Legoland is better than Disneyland. If I don’t show up for Easter Sunday, you may safely assume a band of mouse-eared guards sacked me for blasphemy. Nevertheless, that is my story and I am sticking to it.
When we moved to San Marcos in 2008, Ethan was (and still is) very much into Legos. One Legoland visit and we were all hooked. In December of 2009, to celebrate Ethan’s birthday, we went to Disneyland. Later on that spring, we went to the other Disney park and again to Disneyland, all while holding Legoland passes.
Why do I favor Legoland? For us, it is closer, less expensive, and more interactive with rides and games within Ethan’s age range. The Lego pirates ride, where you spray water on other boats and spectators, ranks far above the rather scary Pirates of the Caribbean. Legoland’s pirate ride is outside in the warm California sun. Pirates of the Caribbean is in a dark cave-like structure. (Did you know they used to use real skeletons from UCLA’s medical school, cadaver division, which have since been replaced with plastic ones except for the real skull and crossbones located over the bed of a captain pirate? Eeeewww)
But the real difference for me is interactivity. Legos encourage creativity, hands-on working, experimenting, failing and redesign, and sharing. At their theme park, on the rope ride you pull yourself up about 50 feet in the air. Failure is an option and sliding down to earth happens. However, the rider quickly learns to grab the rope and try again. One of Ethan’s favorite activities is driving cars. Yes, they actually let children get behind the steering wheels of small cars and drive them around a course with other children. At each intersection, the child drivers learn to look, cooperate, and drive safely. Disneyland seems to be more about sitting still and watching what they’ve created for you.
This is what we teach at Saint John’s School – creativity, hands-on work, cooperation, failure, redesign, and faith. Each child has the same opportunity to dive in, experiment, redesign, and receive feedback on their work. Maybe we’re the Legoland of schools; although we’ve been at it longer than they have. We prepare our students for God’s creation which gives us building blocks and opportunities to create and build.
In Jerusalem, two thousand years ago, faithful people put stone blocks on top of blocks and created an incredible Temple for worship of God. It was built on the very blocks that 957 years earlier were used for the first Temple. But both times, vandals toppled the Temple, stone by stone, until there was nothing but a flat surface left. In Mary’s womb, Jesus was knit together, DNA strand by strand; he was perfect. Those building blocks created Immanuel, God is with us. Jesus gave people a way to live in love, peace and harmony with God and one another. In the Gospels, we learn the Pharisees preferred sitting still and telling others how to live; Jesus stimulated creative and interactive thoughts so that his followers could see God’s Kingdom. And so, they destroyed his body like others had destroyed the Temples.
As we celebrate the risen Christ on Sunday, let us remember that God has blessed us with many building blocks. We are given choices, to use those blocks to lift up or break down, to create or destroy. Although Jesus allows that choice, is there any doubt that he wants us to build God’s Kingdom?