Thursday, January 3, 2008

Less imaginative than others -- jcarolek

When my daughter was in elementary school, she tried out for a team. The team was Odyssey of the Mind. I, for one, had no idea what this was, but, she wanted to try out for the team and I generally supported my children's interests. So I signed the form that allowed her to stay after school with all of the others trying out for the team. My duty was simply to pick her up at the correct time.

Well, always concerned I will arrive late, I headed out early and arrived while the tryouts were still underway. I eased into the auditorium where many students and parents were watching the proceedings. I kicked myself for not knowing I was allowed to watch. Oh, well...whoever that kid was up on the stage had a good clear delivery of her story. I was intrigued by the story, as it was clearly depicting a "day in the life" but of what? I was not certain. I was captivated as I listened to the young lady wrap up her tale lamenting the lovely massage that turned into a sharp and uncomfortable poking and scratching, meted out by the family cat. It turns out, she was depicting a day in the life of a rug.

And it turns out, that young lady up on stage, delivering this short tale, was my daughter. Two things struck me that day. One was that I did not recognize my daughter when she was on stage, "in character," speaking in a commandingly believable tone. The other was that children have very good imaginations, and where I would have been stumped with a prompt such as the one they had been given, they took it and ran with it.

If even the most familiar to us can hold within them surprises, those we don't know very well don't even need to try hard. The imagination of children is not really lost, I don't think, so much as it is pushed aside for the demands of the here and now. And, when I enter a room of those vying for a place on "the team" I try to remind myself that imagination and self assured execution are sometimes what makes them winners.

Meanwhile...I trudge along through life!

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