One of the first books I loved was Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are– it told me it was okay to create my own little world where magic could happen. I remember being young and dreaming up the craziest things just to pass time, or because it was far better than reality. I still do that now, just in a more controlled way; maturity makes realism primary to imagination, and that’s a sad but true thing.
I just wish imagination could be regarded as a necessity to survival. Because it is. With food, a meal is a product of imagination. A chef/cook has to take ingredients, following either a recipe, formula, or an idea, and make something edible, appetizing and yummy. (And pretty too!) And sure, you may feel that when you are cooking you are just following a recipe, but that recipe was an idea once created from someone’s imagination. Imagination goes into the decisions we make- well if I decide this, this could possibly be the outcome. Probability is formal, but it’s the incalculable risk that is imagination that allows a more insightful answer.
So far in my experience, I have met some awesome people, but I have also met people that are completely humorless, and worse, with no imagination at all(!)! Yeah that needed two exclamation points. When you catch someone at the office daydreaming, they often look ashamed. Come on! And I seem to find more and more people who don’t dream at all.
This worries me. In the society we live in, children grow up faster and don’t believe in the things we believed with all our hearts when we were their age. They don’t even dress in fun clothes anymore; they wear fashion geared toward them through designers and media. Additionally, parents are pushing kids to be as smart as possible for college- when preschool and kindergarden start, parents want their kids to be the best and achieve higher levels. They want shiny little stars. And that’s fine, but it’s not childhood where they should fly fancy free. There is no reading-no thinking- for fun anymore…. Don’t parents remember imagination? Don’t they know that imagination is crucial to development, and shapes happy well adjusted children?
I feel sorry for the world. I feel sorry for imagination. Because if children were sent to their room without dinner for being bad, they wouldn’t dream of a world Where the Wild Thing Are. They would just sit… staring at a wall.