A kid and his park are soon parted—at least momentarily, for Darius whose one great love is playing in the park with his friends.
A few months back, Darius joined an art competition in his school (Wolf Canton Elementary School, Chula Vista, San Diego).
Not only did his video project make it to school district level; his was the only one in its category moved to California state competition.
Till today, he’s more than euphoric. Who knows? Federal award may be next!
I’m writing about Darius for a number of reasons.
First: Darius is just ten years old (apart of course from the fact that his family and ours are like kins). I’ve not met many kids this age quite serious about accomplishing tasks.
Second: Darius wisely chose a topic he was familiar with. His entry dealt with a subject he’d experienced—allergies, which he’s wrestled with since he was a baby.
(A lesson for wannabe writers! Write about things close to your heart.)
Third: He poured precious time and energy to complete this project.
Using Lego parts and a script he’d sequenced in his mind, Darius painstakingly put together those tiny interlocking bricks over and over again for the effect needed to animate them.
Resulting in one compact story: Boy eats cake, gets rashes. Dad calls 911. Ambulance arrives. Crew alight to put the patient on a stretcher. Ambulance drives to the hospital. Staff unloads patient. Medical staff attends to him. Boy gets well.
All in three minutes, a total of more than a thousand clicks or frames, with music and sound effects for that edge-of-your-seat yet funny kiddie vibe to make you root for Lego Darius.
Fourth: He heeded his parents’ words and not the tugging of his playful self. Here’s where I realize what parks and playgrounds mean to children.
“He initially completed 400 shots, just enough for 40 seconds. And the requirement was a three to five-minute video,” says Mom Elaine.
Realizing tons of work still needed to be done, Darius tried to cop out. “I miss playing in the park and being with my friends,” he said, almost teary eyed.
He’d been cooped up in this project for quite some time.
His dad Dennis asked, “Do you want to really join the competition?”
“Yes,” replied Darius.
“Then you’ll do it—because you can do it! Do a few shots a day so you can complete the story.” added his dad. That meant 200 to 300 clicks—and Lego rearrangements per shot—a day!
Two very loooong weeks of not setting foot on the park! Must have been torture!
Fifth: This young man’s patience and perseverance paid off.
“I hope I make it to the national level,” confided Darius when I butted in recently as he and his Mom chatted on Messenger.
Pretty simple, huh. Accomplishing something is a step by step, click by click, one Lego-brick-at-a-time process. The image or plan simmering in your mind does not get to boiling point until you actually do it—and you stew in the process with seeming dead-ends, reworks and even disappointments.
But it’s in the latter where real learning happens. And where a child realizes his parents—and those who care for him—are around for their hugs and words of wisdom.
Doing things for the first time and being imposed a deadline are scary prospects for a kid. Actually, the being-afraid-part never ceases, yes, even if you’re a confident career person or a senior.
I pray that as Darius tackles life’s bigger projects, he takes to heart this bible verse: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13; and continue to seek his parents’ guidance. May he lean on Jesus for wisdom, the fear of God be foremost in his heart even as he, like David, confronts more Goliaths along the way.
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