Dad writes too

To help overcome my sons’ reluctance to do the ever-increasing writing portions of their nightly homework, and hopefully to cultivate a love of writing in them, last night I let them give me a writing assignment of my own which I worked on while they did theirs. My assignment, from Jonah, was to write about our Lego Millennium Falcon project. Here’s what I wrote and showed to the boys, who were excited about it, so I plan to do it again.

For my birthday in 2009, my sons gave me the Lego Millennium Falcon, which at the time was Lego’s largest set, both in number of pieces and in the size of the assembled model — about three feet long! I was very excited. The Millennium Falcon is the coolest spaceship in all of science fiction, and I’ve been drawing, building, playing with, and otherwise dreaming about the Millennium Falcon since I was eleven.

Working on the model was very challenging. First we needed a space large enough for the growing assembly as well as the boxes and bags of pieces. Second, the pieces were not organized in any meaningful way, so finding what we needed for each step took a lot of patience, squinting, and good lighting. Then of course there was the need to make sure that I and my sons all got chances to do the coolest steps as well as the tedious parts.

There were long stretches where we didn’t work on it at all, especially during the summer months when there were other, better things to do out of doors. Finally, after we returned from our Christmas vacation (2010) we made a big push to finish it. For one thing, we needed to reclaim the space that the boxes were taking up. For another, Jonah had embarrassed me by building the even-larger Lego Taj Mahal in mere weeks, single-handedly, while the Millennium Falcon sat half-finished. Finally, the closer we got to the end, the faster construction went, for two reasons: first, there were fewer and fewer pieces to search through for each step; and second, there were more and more cool surface details to add, helping to motivate us.

In the end, it took fifteen months to finish building the Millennium Falcon. It was worth the wait and the effort — the finished model is awesome. Now if only we could find a good place to display it!

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