Knowledge as Legos™ or what I learned from my 5-yr old

This is the second revisit to my older posts about modular learning. This was originally posted 10 years ago and as much as things have changed, the essence of our search for meaning and understanding remains the same.


My five-year old son Hunter is a philosopher, he just doesn’t know it. I find myself constantly amazed by the things that I learn from him.

Take yesterday for example, I’m driving my kids to my daughter’s basketball game and Hunter is in the backseat making some sort of vehicle with his Legos™. Holding up something he has built he says to me,


Hunter: “Dad, look what I made. It’s a ship.”

Me: “Wow Hunter, that’s pretty wild.”

Hunter: “I had to take something else apart to make it because I don’t have enough pieces.”

Me: “That’s ok Hunter, that’s the best thing about building with Legos. You can make things and then take them apart and make new things.”

Hunter: “I know Dad, I do that a lot. I like building new things, but sometimes I don’t like it when they break.”

Me: “Yeah, that happens to me sometimes too. I try to find another way to build them that is stronger.”

Then silence, Hunter was back in the zone.

This brief interaction really got me thinking that knowledge and information are a lot like Legos. We acquire all of these various bits and pieces, which alone are useless, but can be combined to build incredibly intricate designs and constructs. Then we can break them down, and build them back up into something new – based on whatever new problem is thrown our way. Sometimes our designs have flaws and what we build falls apart when we test them. We deposit this experience into our knowledge bank, and then go back to the drawing board and either strengthen our construct or rebuild it from scratch.

Thanks Hunter!

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