A BBC article written by Vanessa Barford about the role children’s toys play in career choices made me think back to my own childhood favorites. After 5 minutes of sifting through memories of Hawaii barbie, Parcheesi, Skip It Ropes and magic kits, I finally remembered it: my dress-up trunk. It was a big wooden box that had been hand painted by my mom (who, by the way, has an imagination that could rival Willy Wonka’s). On the trunk’s front panel, she had painted a beautiful princess with the head of a lioness. Regal and foreboding, the princess stood proudly in the middle of an enchanted forest; her expression was frightening and inviting all at once, and I remember believing that when I opened the trunk, I was entering her world. Thinking back to the countless hours spent creating characters and concocting elaborate stories, I can’t help but laugh at the fact that my favorite childhood past time did, in fact, foreshadow my career.
I became a professional dancer when I was 17, and from that point on, my livelihood depended on how well I could embody a character and convey a story to an audience. In my 30s, I entered the business world where my dress-up skills are decidedly less useful. However a healthy imagination and creative thinking are scarce resources in the corporate realm, so in some sense, my days of dress-up have given me something of an edge.
MAKERBLOKS BUILDER’S CHILDHOOD TOYS
Curious about whether the play-things of my colleagues also foreshadowed their career choices, I approached Frank, MakerBloks’ founder and CEO to ask him what his favorite toy was as a kid. He puzzled over the answer, but eventually it came: “my micro-machines.” After a quick Google search, I recognized the itty-bitty cars that were peddled on commercials by the speed-talking dad.
I didn’t see an immediate connection between Frank’s boyhood obsession and his current career, but after a few minutes Frank walked back over to my desk with a guilty smile on his face. “I remembered another thing that I really, really loved. When I was 6, me and my friend David used to recreate the Ghost-Busters outfits. We designed jackets and built proton packs, we even made a ghost-sucking machine out of Legos. We built the proton guns out of whatever we could find around the house, I remember using twirly whirly sound hoses for the nose of the guns! When we had our outfits on, we would go around the neighborhood and burst into depanneurs, bakeries, whatever shops were open, and we’d loudly vanquish their ghosts! We must have looked insane.” So it turns out Frank’s career does echo his childhood games. Frank is a builder and a maker. Sure his tools have changed from twirly whirlies and Legos to 3D printers and… well, still Legos, but he was a maker as a kid and he’s a maker now.
Sophie, our Community Manager took a pause to remember her most prized girlhood possession. “Barbie…yep, definitely Barbie.” When I probed her to tell me what she used to do with her Barbie, Sophie began to recount all the dolls, bears, and action figures that Barbie would hang out with. It turns out Sophie’s Barbie was something of a socialite! It’s not a long leap from socialite Barbie to Community Manager. She then developed a passion for science and had her entire room decorated with planets and stars. Sophie’s penchant for building followings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and pretty much every online outlet, makes her our socialite of social media.
SMALL CLUES TO OUR FUTURE
The funny revelations about how each of our childhood games foreshadowed elements of our careers could likely be found in most people’s lives. We’d love to hear about your favorite childhood toys and games and how they connect to your work today. At MakerBloks, our job is to provide a learning game for your child that inspires their mind to work creatively and resourcefully. Our hope is that the next generation of artists, scientists, engineers and techies will think back to their childhood MakerBloks, and realize that they were a small clue to a big future.
Love, The MakerBloks Builders
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