Yesterday on the kitchen table was a newspaper. That in itself would be unusual given that I don’t subscribe to a newspaper, but this one was particularly different.The masthead of this paper said, “The Pirate News.” It was hand-written, photocopied, then colored by some eight-year-olds. It was fantastic. I asked my son what the story behind the newspaper was and he explained that he had started a pirate club with his friends. Obviously, Rian was the captain and his friends all became his first, second, and third mates respectively. I asked him where he got the idea and he said, “It just came to me. I like pirates so I thought I would start a pirate club.”
Beyond just being a proud dad, I love seeing what my son is interested in. He is at an age where you can visibly see him learning. You see it on his face when he makes a new connection. A look of determination relaxes into accomplishment as he uses his hands to build something. But most of all he is excited about what he is doing. He can’t wait to show me the things that he is creating. The same thing is true of Camden, our 9 month old. Everything he sees and hears is a fascinating new discovery. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that kind of excitement as an adult?
Somewhere along the way to becoming grownups we get the idea that you have to have a really good reason to create something. So when we meet someone who is spending their free time building things we ask questions like, “How do you find the time?” or “How long did that take?” We wonder how people can justify quitting their job to pursue a crazy dream. We roll our eyes at the dreamers and say, “It must be nice to have that much free time.” And the worst question is just, “Why?” Because we expect a profound answer that might push us out of our complacency. And when the answer is “because I like pirates” we are disappointed. Just loving something isn’t a good enough excuse for most people to take the risk. I think that’s why most grown-ups have lost the enthusiasm for learning that they had as children.
I am not big on resolutions, but this year I am going to worry less about justifying my creations. I will create things because I love them, and that will be enough. It might be a chess app, a camera made of Legos, or a Scotch tasting club. Will you join me in embracing this attitude? Will you join my pirate club?