Is there an imagination shortage?
The minute I heard of this job, I wanted it. It was a Disney Imagineer. I don’t actually know what an Imagineer does- but I imagined that it was wonderful and right up my alley! Who isn’t fascinated by the Disney “World”? A look behind-the- scenes, as you walk the park or go on the rides, leaves you breathless by what it took to put it all together. I mean the paint, wallboards, puppets, gardens, and all that.
I spent my childhood as my own imagineer. My Grandmother once gathered several old apple crates, JCPenney catalogs, and wallpaper books. We sat on her farm porch with scissors and glue, transforming those apple crates into homes and a school for my Barbie dolls. The wallpapered walls had windows, artwork and library shelves. Grandma upholstered a tuna can into a fine sofa and a Kleenex box into a bed fit for a princess.
My ten-year-old self spent many hours that summer imagining stories for my Barbie and her friends.
My story prompts came from my Grandparent’s salvaged country schoolhouse library. A rich treasure for a young mind!
I’d run outside to the swing on the thirty-foot oak tree. I’d fly so high that my feet plunged into the leafy boughs. I was an astronaut discovering remote planets, or a cloud skirting the sky, or a fighter pilot in a dogfight. I loved the sensation of flying so high and free!
“Through imagination, you discover what you want in life, where you want to go, and who you want to be. Change is possible when you can see something different in your mind. Goal setting is effective only when emotions are attached to the goals, and that comes from being able to visualize what you get out of the accomplished goal. You have to Imagine what it will be like when you get there.” Bob Proctor
Do you remember playing scenarios as a child?
Dr. James Dobson once discussed child’s play on his radio program, “Focus on the Family”. He stated that research found, free play of young children, is a career forecast, if given the freedom to choose their life path. The child who played Doctor with the Teddy bears and dolls, and roll-played stories of rescue- left to their own choices, often went into the medical field. Children who lined up their toys to teach them something, or set up toy stores, chose those career paths. We actually play to our gifts.
Four-year-old Eli wrapped a rope around the big plastic storage box and watched the TV rodeo cowboy mount the bull, as he climbed onto the box. When the chute opened, the bull kicked and turned as Eli rode his box for all it’s worth. At the right moment, he fell off the box and rolled out beyond the horns and hooves. Thirty years later, he’s a happy cattle rancher.
Jeremy found a small forked branch on the grass. “Look Mom, I can make money with this! I’ll tie a string across the end to make it a triangle. Then I’ll set it onto of this bush. When a bird lands on it, the wings will get stuck. We can take the feathers off to make Indian hats, sell its eggs and cook the bird meat it to sell to the store!” He was five years old. Today he’s an international futures investment CEO.
More often than not, life gets in the way.
The lure of salary and security in an entirely different direction sends people into something they had never entertained. Well-meaning family and friends often decide what a young person should be or do “for their own good”.
After my art workshop, an accomplished surgeon explained to me, with tear filled eyes, her intense soul struggle. Her hearts’ desire was to work in a creative field. But her family wanted her to have a financially stable career in medicine. She misses the creative part of her dreams. It’s time for a creativity come back in her life.
Dr. Dobson noted that later in life, if a person has the opportunity, he’ll return to doing things he enjoyed as a child. Michael, a 75-year-old mining engineer, built treehouses and forts in the woods, as a boy. Now, he’s taking a page out of the Tiny House ideas to build himself an attic/loft office and library into his small home. But we know it’s really his treehouse! What was your playtime about?
So, what can we do about our imagination crisis?
Have we scheduled out time to daydream, to observe nature, to be interested in something because we want to?
From the time a child wakes up, he’s supervised, led, and placed in managed situations until he’s tucked back into his bed at night. Morning routines, school, after school, sports, music, drama, homework, bed. Any spare minutes that he snatches for himself, his mind is directed to a game or video. Adults do the same thing.
I need time to imagine what better and more beautiful looks like, don’t you? Today, take a few minutes to remember you as an Imagineer. Give yourself permission to have “what if” thoughts. Then set your thoughts free and soar!
BONITA MOSLEY, Visionary Optimist
Bonita Mosley is a freelance content copywriter, artist, vision board workshop leader, and children’s book illustrator. All of her roles center around her spiritual gifts of teaching and encouraging others. Thousands of her students, from small children to adults, discovered art skills and imagination abilities, through her unique teaching approach. Bonita is also active in Christian Women’s Ministry in her church. Her weekly lifestyle articles appear in the Mulberry Press, a local Central Florida newspaper. She is married, has three adult sons, and is caretaker to her mother.