Where has our childhood imagination gone? Is it just me that missed something as I aged, or does it seem that as we enter adulthood we lose our ability to see wonder and possibilities? Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, and I’m not saying that I don’t have fun times, but when was the last time I, or you, used a box as a toy?
I vividly recall that as a child I loved to play with boxes! Boxes of all shapes and sizes were my imaginative playground where everything was possible! By the end of my playing with the boxes they were destroyed, but that was the sacrifice the boxes made for the enjoyment of a child.
So what happens to us when we age that a box now is simply a box? As a child, a box was never a box; it was a race car, space ship, house, castle, etc. But now, when I get a box in the mail, it is simply a box. Why don’t I see the box as anything but a box? What changed?
I don’t have the complete “answer” to the why question, but I do believe that part of the answer deals with imagination and creativity. As we age our society frowns upon child-like imagination in people older than the early teens. But notice how I just phrased that; society frowns upon it. I firmly believe that we as adults have not lost our sense of creativity nor imagination, rather, we have to either hide the tendency, or use creativity in “adult ways”. Over time we tend to forget about our childhood adventures, or try not to remember them since we know that can’t be relived.
Don’t misunderstand my premise. I am not suggesting that we all revert to children, tempting as that may be. Rather, I am encouraging us to recall our childhood sense of wonder and imagination and creativity, not bottling it up to sit on a shelf filled with “those were the days” artifacts.
Here are a some of my suggestions for living and working with a sense of wonder:
- Take time each day to sit, or walk, quietly without distraction to give yourself time to think. I feel it’s safe to say that most of us did not enjoy sitting in the corner or being sent to our room. But weren’t those the times when we came up with what we would do once we got out of punishment? Didn’t we as children use the time wisely so to speak? Well, as an adult, spend some time in the corner.
- Live in the moment spending time observing the little things. Do you recall being fascinated by a spider web or a bug and being so excited to show it to an adult, only to get the response “it’s just a web.”? Don’t be that adult! Be the child who not only notices the web, but is fascinated by it.
- While at work, find ways to be creative and think out of the box. Take a risk. Propose something that you feel really will work, but is something not typical to your agency. As a kid most of the time we didn’t care about being right or wrong, we just went with it. Who didn’t come up with ideas that adults said would never work. Are any of your crazy kid ideas part of our modern technology?
- Spend some time in play. Play video games, simulators, sports, board games, card games, etc. Game play has been shown to increase an adult’s mental acuity. So go out and play! It may no longer be with a box, but don’t stop playing and finding wonder and excitement in life!
… continue the conversation …