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I saw on a couple of daddy blogs that Lego has introduced a Lego set where the mother is working and the father is a stay-at-home-dad. Lego is getting a lot of positive respons for being so “progressive” – and I think it is awesome that they have done it.

But I am at the same time surprised how “a dad taking care of the kids” can be such a “groundbreaking” idea.

In a way it would have been cooler if the introduction of the “stay-at-home-dad-Lego-set” had not created any news at all. Like if an active parenting father was the most natural thing in the world. Because I think it is the most natural thing in the world to be an active father. And soon, hopefully, more people will think so too.

The fact that Lego is launching that stay-at-home-dad-set is perhaps a sign of how things are changing, like if the dad-lego-set is a small lego piece in a big puzzle to slowly change the perception of what it means to be a father.

It would not be the first time Lego has tried to push public opinion on gender-related issues.

In a letter to parents published in 1972 LEGO wrote:

“To Parents

The urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls.

It’s the imagination that counts. Not skill. You build whatever comes into your head, the way you want it. A bed or a truck. A dolls house or a spaceship.

A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses.

The most important thing is to put the right material in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them.”

 

I would like to propose an alternative text:

“To Parents

The urge to connect with their parents is equally strong in all children. To connect with both Mum – and Dad.

It’s the love that counts. Not skill. You parent whatever way comes into your head, the way you want it. Put your child to bed. Pretend to be a truck. Play with a dolls house, teach them about spaceships.

A lot of dads like to play with doll houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of mums prefer to teach about spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses.

The most important things is to put in the right amount of time with them, to lead, teach and inspire them to believe that they can create what ever appeals to them.”

Lego is a made-up word created by combining the two danish words for “play” and “learn”, and it is really an amazing tool to inspire creativity. I grew up on Lego and spent hundreds and hundreds of hours alone (or with my brothers) building with those small, plastic bricks. I am absolutely sure that Lego helped me develop my creative skills.

But I am equally convinced that playing alone with Lego was not the most important thing that triggered my creativity.

It was things like my dad tying a rope behind the car so that we could hold on to the rope while he would drive on snowy country roads as a make-shift and flat ski-lift. Or my mother teaching us to bake, or our parents letting us pretend to be fire-fighters who would use small water-spray-bottles to put out the egg-cartons that they had set alight in our fire-place.

Children develop their creativity by exploring, being curious and imagining – but this creative development can be multiplied by the right support from their parents. And the number one tool to develop a child in any possible manner is the tool called TIME.

Dads playing with their kids is not “cute”, “sweet” or “endearing” – it is “essential”.

Make sure you put in the time needed to do it.

 

Fredrik Haren

A blog about the magic of fatherhood and paternity leave. Written by Fredrik Haren, professional speaker and author who is now on semi-paternity leave with his three children.

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