Caine's Arcade and the Art of Saying Yes

Three days ago, Nirvan Mullick posted this video online, and, if you've been on the web at all this week, chances are you've seen it. The story is perfect for "going viral" (which is why it has).  If you haven't seen it or you want another shot of inspiration, take a look now. It's definitely worth your time:

Caine's Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.

This video prompts a slew of random thoughts for me.  Some of them are:

  • The parenting thought: Would Caine's Arcade exist if his dad had given him an X-box (or any "screen") to occupy his time at the shop?  I think not...and that, my friends, would have been tragic.  It is an odd thought, but, these days, we, as parents, must build enough technical boundaries for our kids' time to ensure that they'll get bored enough to get creative as Caine did.
  • The practical thought: How many hours did he spend making his creation?  My guess is that he lost count...or that, eventually, it just didn't matter.  Loving the process of creating tends to do that to the creator.
  • The political thought:  If the city became aware of the arcade, I wonder if Caine would have received a ticket for operating without a business license or a "cease & desist" notice?  It would be the ultimate evidence that our society has turned completely upside down.
  • The creative thought:  Brown, cardboard boxes still make some of the greatest toys!  Don't believe me?  Read this book.
  • The selfish thought:  I want a flash mob to come celebrate me.  Who wouldn't?
  • The travel thought:  When can I get to East L.A. to have a go at that finger-flick soccer game in Caine's arcade?

However, the biggest question I have to ask myself is would I have allowed my 9 year-old to completely lean into this vision as Caine's dad did?  Would I have said "yes" to the process?  I'm reminded of the ongoing summer conversation about having a lemonade stand and how my first thought is (too) often "no."  This must (continue to) change.

There are at least a dozen reasons why Caine's dad could have said "no" to this idea.  Saying "yes" takes work because it forces one to give away a measure of control (no matter how small).

I am both challenged and inspired by Caine...and his dad.   I hope you are as well.

Happy Friday.  Go do something creative today that involves some cardboard, a bunch of packing tape, and a whole lot of patience.  You'll be better because of it.