Children have a wonderful imagination. I was reminded of this yesterday while I was watching my son play basketball in our front yard. As he dribbled the ball, he was talking through the action that was unfolding around him. He called out the team names, player’s names, fouls, timeouts and a basket by basket score. It also made me think of how I used to watch the boys in my class do the same thing – imagining you are part of a big game, making the big plays and taking the winning shot.
We don’t teach children how to play this way. It happens naturally. What starts out as a form of imitation, grows into so much more. While one child may imagine themselves in a big game, other children are in the “kitchen” making an elaborate meal, while others are gathering the clues to solve a mystery. Anything can happen during these times of creativity and usually does. There are no restrictions based on what could actually happen. The sky is the limit.
Slowly, these times of imaginative play start to slip away. Children get older. Their schedule starts to fill up with activities and friends. They no longer have long stretches of time to fill. They learn more, develop their own opinions, which in turn influences what they believe is, or is not, possible. Invisible boundaries are drawn and limits are set. The sky no longer endless.
As adults, imagination is not a word that we often use. If we do, it’s usually translated into “where do you want to be in five years?” And while a question like that gives us the opportunity to be imaginative, few of us will take it to that creative, boundless level. We have responsibilities and commitments. We think about consequences and draft a realistic five-year plan that is possible. The more I think about it, the more it feels like there is an unwritten rule that adults don’t get to or shouldn’t have an imagination. Am I the only one?
Let’s change that today. Make time this weekend to channel your inner child and let your imagination take control. Visualize where you would love to be – maybe a beach, with the warm sun on your face, the sand between your toes, the sound of the waves and the smell of salt as the breeze comes off the ocean. Let your imagination fill you with joy and happiness in that moment. Or find your child and go on an amazing imagination adventure with them. Abandon all reality and let fun be your guide.
Journal on this: Write out the most imaginative vision you can think of for your life. When you are done, look over your vision and see which of these things are already present in your life today? Which ones do you wish were present? What would it take to get there?
p.s. Not sure how to take your imaginative vision of your life and turn it into reality? I can help! Comment below (or email firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s get started.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.