"Under blanket... It's raining."
Those four words (however choppy, babbled and broken) were spoken directly to me recently. The words were uttered by my 2 1/2 year old son on a day in which I was consumed by several tasks on my "to-do" list that needed to be complete. In addition, I was not the most relaxed and well-rested of fathers... I was very tired and my son solicited my attention during the fatigue of the afternoon hours. What did I want to do with my time? I wanted to take a nap-time siesta, or catch up on social media, or watch a ball game, or even veg out by eating some tasty snacks. However, I felt compelled to answer the call of my first firstborn.
He grabbed my hand and he said, "quick, quick... hurry... hurry- under blanket. It's raining." He then led me by the hand he had clasped onto to the next room from where I was trying to rest and took me straight to a blanket. It did not take long for me to realize he was using and sharpening his imagination.
I know what you may be thinking: Wow! this guy's house must be in really bad shape. Our 1925 cottage is old, but it is not that old. It does not leak rain into our house when it rains causing us to dive under blankets. And, plus, it was actually a nice sun shiny day on this particular Spring afternoon.
On this nice sun-filled day and despite my afternoon fatigue, I chose to entertain my son's imagination. And... You know what? We had a blast. It was awesome pretending to dive under water drenched cascades, take shelter in a cave from a torrential downpour, and escape the elements of Mother Nature. My son and I made memories that day and I don't regret it one bit.
Did I WANT to use my time imagining make-believe rainstorms when I was tired and stressed? If I am honest with myself, then the answer is no. Did it take time away from what I wanted to do? Yes. However, was it worth it? Absolutely YES!
How does this tie in with education? I believe we all want to tap into our student's imagination. We want to allow students to navigate their curiosities, but unfortunately something keeps us from allowing this to happen. As educators, we, far too often, allow ourselves to be distracted by the unimportant "urgencies" and this, sadly, stifles the imaginations of our students. We lose out on the rich memories and we develop regrets. We lose and our students lose.
The next time you feel you "have to" do some district initiative or you "need to" complete some ultimatum in order to be compliant, ask yourself... Will this take away from creating positive memories for my students? Will this inhibit my students imaginations? If you answer yes to those two questions, then I would put those on hold and choose to spend time allowing you and your students to enrich life with curiosity and imagination... After all, do not just take it from me. Take the advice of, perhaps one of the most brilliant minds this world has ever known, when he declared...
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." -Albert Einstein
What do you think? Is it difficult to invest time in soliciting, cultivating, and allowing imagination in schools today? If so, why do you believe it is so difficult?