How and Why Do Our Imaginations Die?

I love to watch my son play. I marvel at his imagination.

When he’s not destroying things for no good reason, that is.

As I was sitting at my makeshift desk in the living room working the other day, I happened to glance over at him. He had been steadily walking back and forth to his room and other parts of the house, gathering up materials and then he’d sit for a bit to watch TV. And then he’d get up and round more stuff and then sit again.

My first instinct was to bitch at him that he better put all the crap back where he got it from when he was done. (Which is what I’d normally do.)

But this time, I just watched him. When he noticed that I saw him, he explained that he was making a boat.

Hmmm. By golly, it was a sail boat! I only wish I had gotten a picture of the finished product. He had added a rudder and some fluffy sailing mates before he was done.

And as I sat and watched him carefully arranging everything, I was filled with happiness that he was using his imagination and not just playing with his tablet or, as I mentioned before, throwing and destroying things.

But I was also a little sad. For me. I began to wonder…

Did I ever imagine and create things? Why can’t I remember if I did? And if I did, when and why did I stop?

Actually, as I write this, I do remember one time in grade school. I don’t remember what the assignment was…but I remember that I decided I was going to make mine special. I made a record (yes I’m old, and yes, millenials, you might have to google that shit — or just click on the handy dandy link) and sleeve out of construction paper. I listed songs on the disc label and on the album cover and created artwork for both.

It was pretty freaking cool. I worked so hard on that thing. It had to be perfect. And it was. I don’t quite remember the reception I got for it, though. Did I just get an A but no, “Hey, kid. That was super creative of you?”

Did I just stop having creative ideas? Did someone inadvertently kill my creativity? But most importantly, how do I get it back?

Because watching my son happily sitting in his laundry basket boat certainly rekindled a burning desire to get back to the little record-making me.

And made me realize that I need to be extra careful not to discourage my children from nurturing their creativity and using their imaginations.

Even if I want to kill them for making a colossal mess.

How do you stoke the flames of creativity? Leave a comment below!

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