It would be lovely if every child wanted to specialize in something reasonable. Something that made money, provided income, or was valuable for family harmony. Sadly, most teenagers are still children, at least some of the time, and they may want to specialize in the most unusual things! Instead of worrying, try to translate their interests into something reasonable. In other words, if they DID specialize in that one seemingly - bizarre thing, what would that look like?
Loralee wrote to me because her child loves only legos. If you took that interest and added a few years, what would it look like?
I just read one of your articles about encouraging your child's passions. I wish my 15 yr old son had a passion like chess or piano or fiddle playing! While he does read a lot (like your son, I assume), and has hobbies such as leathercraft, and biking, the thing he's passionate about is LEGOs! He loves them and wants to be a LEGO designer. My husband feels that's a childish thing to be doing all the time (and so do I to a lesser degree). He's has upper average grades, and we don't live in Sweden, and there are a million other kids who want to do the same thing, so it doesn't seem likely he'll get very far in his desired field. So, how do I encourage his passion when I feel he should be growing out of it? Thank you very much for your time! ~ Loralee
Lego needs engineers. Engineers begin their careers with Legos. Legos are the cornerstone of many science and engineering programs, leagues, and clubs. For that reason, it looks like Legos are a GREAT way to ignite passion! Check out these links for more information:
Perhaps your child would like to compete in a science and engineering fair. To find one in your area, Google Science & Engineering Fair with the name of your state, or start by look at ISEF: Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
For a "degree in Legos" working at the LEGO company, to create something knew a person might need a chemical or mechanical engineering degree. If you urge your child in that direction, you can't go wrong. He'll be prepared for anything! During high school, he'll need math each year, plus biology, chemistry, and physics. By the time he is done with high school, he may have modified his goals slightly, but this preparation will give him maximum flexibility.
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I hope you know there is a college scholarship for duct tape, LOL!
Oh, and I forgot all about the photographers who take the pictures for the cardboard boxes these things come in! It might help if the photographer is quite familiar with the product - especially when deciding which aspects of the product should be featured and how to effectively highlight product features in the photographic medium :-)
Lego has many building sets based on movies. These sets are probably designed by a team of people including marketers and artists - marketers to decide which particular aspects of the movies are memorable and will sell well, and artists to adapt the "look" and "feel" of movie scenes, props, and actors to the Lego world. I'm sure there are other people who figure out exactly which existing Legos will work for the concept and which pieces need to be specially made (and how). So there's room for a variety of talents at that company.
Well, we are a lego family. When I do laundry legos fall out. When I sweep or vacuum I have to watch out for those legos. Legos are everywhere even open a book and a lego will probably fall out. My son when he was 9 competed in a First Lego League competition and had a great time. He is now 10 and my 9 year old daughter is also on the team now. FLL encompasses about five different aspects. They have core values which have to be adhered to or you get disqualified. These include one's own team as well as anybody else competing or watching. They also have a different challenge each year which is inventing something to better our community. Along with all this they learn some programming and have to explain what knowledge they have gained from it all. This is just one avenue a passionate lego young person can take. We are a Lego Family.
Legos are now an accepted passion, and such an indicator of engineering and science...my daughter was passionate about her Legos, but has since turned to duct tape... I may have a budding designer on my hands! She builds everything from sculptures to jewelry to medievil costumes and weaponry from duct tape!
Another mom of a Legomaniac teen here. I just want to give a second recommendation for the FIRST Robotics competition. My teen went from nothing-but-Legos to learning to weld, rivet, assemble gear boxes, fabricate metal parts, and much more since joining the local FIRST Robotics team. Not only is he spending 10 or so hours a week working on the team robot for this year's state level competition, but with his dad's help he built a somewhat working propane powered jet engine that he designed himself (and it's sitting on my dining table right now, sigh).
Lee, I really appreciate you posting about this. My 14 year old has been passionate about building Legos since he was 6! I hadn't considered the possibility of him being an engineer, so thank you for that insight!! We have enough Lego to start our own small store...: D
p.s. I forgot to mention that my LEGOmaniac son is now a sophomore mechanical engineering student in college.
First of all, I must say that I think your boy has wonderful interests and hobbies. I wish my 15-year-old had such a varied array of unique hobbies!
That said, when my friend's son interviewed at a college specializing in aeronautical engineering (he has lofty goals--wants to be an astronaut!), the admissions person asked if he had played with LEGO's as a child, as that's a sure indicator of a mechanical engineer. My oldest son was a huge LEGOmaniac, too. The little pieces everywhere drove me crazy, but he designed and built some amazing pieces, and even won 2nd place in a national LEGO design competition when in jr. high. You may very well have a budding engineer there.
Also, we live in CT, maybe 35-40 minutes from LEGO's US headquarters. Maybe you could begin researching now what internship/co-op experiences they might have. You are right that many young boys would love to work for LEGO, but it's worth looking into--someone has to design those very popular sets! LEGO stopped doing group tours for this same reason--too much interest, even in our small state of CT!