What a wonderful thing to have the ability to turn a pebble into super glue that can keep a bridge from collapsing all because you live in a world that includes the visible PLUS the one with limitless possibilities.
I was spending some time with a three-year-old, and a five-year-old friend. We had just played outside “fixing bridges” by inserting pebbles into cracks. Afterward while we were playing with blocks, one of them said something about imagination.
My mind jumped to a passage I read in the Education for Life book, about the importance of fantasy and imagination. It talked about imagination being the key to solving problems in life, and how important it is to weave fantasy and imagination into our educational system and daily life. I wanted to share this insight with my two little friends, but how was I going to share it with such young children?
Suddenly, I found myself saying, “I have a super power. Do you?”
There was a brief silence as we continued to work on the house we were building out of blocks.
I continued, “Do you know what superpower I have?”
“Which one?” the older child asked.
“Imagination. With imagination I can do anything.” I replied.
Another thoughtful silence, then he quietly said, “Yes, I have that superpower.”
I never thought about imagination being a superpower, but maybe it is. Many times, I find myself with adult friends who lack the power to find solutions or see different perspectives. Sometimes I am with “bored” children who lack the energy to find something they are interested in. These do not seem to be natural or healthy ways of being because there is a disconnect between them and their creative life force.
Perhaps the belief that all we have are “things that are real” is what causes them to live in a very small world. When we think like this, we are doomed to get tired of those things, and need new ones to “be happy”.
I grew up in a household where there weren’t many “extras”. There were twelve children and two parents. There was always food and the basics. When I say we had food, I mean we had the basic ingredients to “make” food. If we saw something on television that we wanted to eat, we went to the kitchen to create our version of that meal. It always tasted good and seemed to be exactly like what we saw.
The attitude of creativity permeated our home. We never lacked anything because if we didn’t have a hammer, we used the nearest rock. If we didn’t have a dustpan (at least I don’t remember ever having one) we used two papers—one became the dustpan and the other became a small brush. If we were skilled enough, we were able to pick up anything.
I have to pause and wonder why a child needs a play car when they have a block that could become a car rather easily. Let’s give the children a chance to develop that creative part of their nature. And for all the teachers and parents who are out there nurturing this part of their lives and of their children, thank you.