If you missed pre-digital American toys, the Lite-Brite is a simple classic. It’s a light box with small colored plastic pegs. The good, clean, fun comes from putting the pegs into the panel so when the box is illuminated, the pegs form a picture.
You could use color-by-letter templates or create your own design with a blank sheet of black paper. What does this have to do with life, or with anything relevant to people older than seven?
You always have a choice, some where, some how. Even if your only freedom is picking the real-life equivalent of yellow pegs over orange ones, you selected nonetheless.
There will always be barriers. Opaque black paper is everywhere. Don’t get discouraged. Without them, things would be too easy and destroy the surprise. So stay strong and confident. Soldier through and see what’s on the other side.
You need to do something in order to get something. Doing nothing = receiving nothing. You’re only rewarded with an image after working for it.
There’s more! Ways to use the Lite-Brite parallel how people live their lives.
Option 1: The lamest route
Although recycling is great, the lowest Lite-Brite experience is reusing someone’s old sheet. You’re literally doing what’s already been done—punching in pegs and going through the motions like a bored assembly-line worker.
Even in kindergarten we knew better than to use these. We flung punctured sheets away with disgust until the teachers told us to pick them up. They were only accepted as a last resort, like on the fourth consecutive day of indoor recess.
As an adult, there’s no reason to bother with them at all. The life equivalents of option one are the safe job, the certain path, the easy, comfortable, predictable bet.
Option 2: The fresh sheet
Next is a new template just for you. The color-by-letter code is unmarked and waiting. It might turn out to be Mickey Mouse’s face, but who knows? You’re breaking new ground!
Sort of. Although it could be anything…it’ll definitely be something.
Failure isn’t an option because a legit, corporate-backed outcome is guaranteed. You’re using a store-bought template, remember? Think: kitten, Spider Man, Oscar the Grouch.
This balance between guidance and pioneering gives just enough adventure for you to enjoy yourself before arriving at a safe, cool spot. True, you’re following the rules but you’re obeying them your way. Maybe you add personalized flair by using red bulbs instead of blue.
Option two feels like, ‘Whoa, that was scary for a little while, but now I’m back within the bounds of what’s normal. My deviations were slight enough to not matter in the long run.’ It’s like you majored in underwater basket weaving but were still accepted to law school. Edgy at first, square in the end.
Option 3: The brave new world
Known as ‘Operation Foot-Loose and Fancy-Free,’ the third route is paved in black construction paper. You’re in uncharted territory where anything can happen. No one’s done this before. You’re a trailblazer running across fresh snow.
No dotted pattern, no color-codes, nothing. You don’t even know where the holes should be; you blindly prod and see what happens.
Maybe the paper’s too thick and you won’t push them through.
Maybe you’ll mess up and have holes where you don’t want them.
Maybe the design will look dumb.
But the light shines through wherever you push, wherever you place your energy. And by default, your selection—design, colors, overall scheme—will differ from everyone else’s.
This is the person who majored in underwater basket weaving and went on to earn a living selling his creations.
A final bit of intense symbolism: we’re all moving through darkness into the light—to clarity, coherence, and truth.
Pretty deep for a mass-produced chunk of plastic from China, no?
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