Sunday, June 28, 2009

Imagination evaportation

Note: I'm starting with a repost of something I wrote for my own blog earlier this week. It kind of follows Mai's pondering a bit...

What happens to our imaginations as we get older?

My oldest son, Gabriel, went to a camp this week. Camp Invention. It was pretty cool. They learned all about science and physics and inventing during the week. Today, they had a little expo where their family members came to view their inventions and creations.

I was impressed by all the creative problem-solving these elementary school students came up with. The older students created Rube Goldberg machines, complex devices that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways, that were to catapult and smash a rotten egg. Each team came up with something different. They were made out of coffee maker parts, Walkman's and other discarded appliance and recyclable items like paper towel rolls, boxes, egg cartons, etc.

Their machine designs and plans were some of the most creative drawings I've seen in a long time.

They let their imaginations run wild with nothing to stop them and all the encouragement in the world from the camp counselors.

It did get me thinking about how my imagination has been stunted by the rules, discouragement and years of working for the Man. Somewhere along the way, I lost my desire to create and be artistic. I lost my joy of simply silly and beautiful creations made for creation's sake. I began to produce.

Somewhere along the line, everything I did had to have purpose and meaning beyond being silly or beautiful.

I still dabble with scrapbooking and design and painting and crafts, but it's usually with a specific goal, such as organizing my photos for my family, making presents for various holidays, cooking a meal, etc. It's rarely for the simple purpose of expressing myself or exercising my imagination. It only happens when all the chores are done and everything is in its place, which means rarely.

I think that is one thing that being home with my kids has taught me. I need to get in touch with my inner child again and relearn how to be silly and imaginative. I'd forgotten how happy those simple pleasures make me.

My youngest, Morgan, is probably the most imaginative person I have ever known. He creates entire worlds out of nothing at all. He comes up with the most amazing and detailed stories you've ever heard. He doesn't care that sometimes they don't make much sense in the real world. They make perfect sense to him and that is all that matters. It is a beautiful thing.

I hope he never loses touch with that imaginative side of himself.

... and Gabe's invention?

He created something called an "Attractor" that attracts his little brother when Morgan is being a bit too imaginative, and annoying, for Gabriel's comfort.


  1. So, does the attractor cost $5.00 or $500? And are you saving your pennies, yet?

    Aw, I love your boys. I remember the day Morgan invented a whole monster society under the dinner table at Applebee's. I can't imagine doing something like that myself -- picture us in Vegas making up a monster society under the buffet table -- and I wonder at unbounded creation. I'm just starting to enjoy this sense of creativity with purpose, but I suppose I'd like it a lot less if I never had my purely recreational outlets, too.

    Viva the blog. And see you SOON! (Yay.)

  2. I remember being a very imaginative child, I did not have many friends so I would create my own adventures and run around playing the ducks, geese and chickens, fun times!
    I do understand it is harder to find time to be creative and use our imaginations. But when we do find the time we should take full advantage of it!
    It is wonderful that some schools are running such programs your son participated in. It’s so sad when the Theatre, Arts or other creative programs are cut because of budget shortfalls.
    Keep the kid dreaming!