Friday, July 2, 2010

In the Future's Hands

I'm working (still) on finding research for my thesis proposal and as I'm taking in all this information I've had several mind blowing thoughts.

My entire concept for my thesis is built around imagination which is something in and of itself. It has been quite a feat trying to find research on this topic as there really isn't a whole lot out there specifically. Sure I can find LOTS on imagination, just have to be careful what pops up on the the computer screen.

The study of imagination--how do you quantify a subjective topic? Of course there are studies in child development (what percentage believed in Santa at age 3 versus age 9), but I'm looking for more information about imagination in the adult life. Essentially I'm having to piece together articles that cover a broad spectrum of information over imagination and hello, that's the whole point of this thesis, to create a new idea with the information I gather. Or rather, support this crazy idea I have with information I find. It's taking over my life, but I'm finding that the more I read the more ideas and beliefs I'm solidifying along the way.

See, to me imagination is so very key to the quality of life. Without an ounce of fantasy to our lives, I think we lead a boring existence. That creative streak is necessary to our existence to keep our minds active and engaged--I think that everyone needs it (And yes, I know its an arguable debate and yes, I'm opening that door, but hear me out.).

Problem solving requires a bit of imagination. Whether you're trying to solve a math equation or a choreograph Broadway's next biggest hit, you've got to put some brain power in there to come up with something. Think about it for a minute. Any time you stumble across a problem, there has to be a solution and often times that solution isn't given to you. What do you do?

Might mean searching through what you know, brain storming something completely inventive, and putting the two together to come up with your new product, i.e. the equation or a show. Even if you're a farmer, there will be times in which your machine breaks down or the crops aren't coming in--how are you going to fix that? Maybe tried and true ways of problem solving aren't working any more. That's when you have to create something else.

I could go into much more detail with works cited and blah blah blah, but I tell ya what--read my thesis when it's printed in December if you'd like.

I did come across some articles that spoke about adult fairy tales and why they are so necessary in our grown-up lives. One author discussed how you'll never read a fairy tale and appreciate the same way you did the first time. Ain't that the truth. I remember the first time I ever saw a two story house and I was completely blown away by the size and its huge presences in front of my six year old body. I've never had that feeling again. Same with any fairy tale--It's still magical but not quite the same as the first time. The first time for anything is always a memorable experience. The first fireworks show, the first day of school, a first kiss, a first love, a first chik-fil-a sandwhich...you can see what I truly value in life.

And as I was thinking about my child self and reading articles on the importance of play, I got to thinking about kids today and their exposure to so many electronic and educational toys. There's such a huge push for kids to be stimulated early on in our technical world and get them that jump start on their education right off the bat. Why not send them outside? Why do children have to have toys that talk to them all the time? Why do kids have to know the alphabet by 3 months? OK, that one was an exaggeration, however, my point is a child's education doesn't just happen in front of a screen or while playing Robby the Robot talking smarty-pants toy.

It seems to be that pushing standardized facts is the way to go in education. There gets a point when facts aren't enough and a child has to start putting together their own problem solving skills. For goodness sakes, what's a better way to do that to let them think and create on their own.

I'm not saying kids need to be running around Wally World like a maniac free spirit you claim them to be. That's a lame excuse for not parenting and I fantasize about running those kids down with my cart on a frequent basis, but that's another topic. All I'm saying is they need that ability to create stories on their own--let them go be pirates in a bath tub in the backyard. What did they do? What did they see? How did they sail away from the British Navy? Let them have at it with play-doh--what can they create with their own hands? What fantastic gizmo did they dream up?

What you're doing by allowing these kids to dream is breeding a generation of dreamers who will solve the our future problems of the world. It's a creative age--look around. What's worked for decades isn't working any more and it's going to take a bolt of creative, imaginative lighting to pull our butts out of this energy crisis and solve the oil spill and fix what a funky economic situation we now live in.

And then when my mind reels through all that I think about the pressure that's on that young generation. Then I think about what my own future children will have waiting for them twenty something years after their birth. Should that be an exciting feeling? What if they're the next Einstein to solve our energy issue? Or should it be something to be concerned with, having all that hope rest on their unborn shoulders? Seems I've worked myself in a tizzy.

I suppose the greatest service I can pay to them is teaching them how to imagine. Give them the opportunity for a healthy and happy childhood where they can be kids who love to dream, learn to built and create without knowing what lies ahead in wait. Perhaps by then they'll be eager to save the world, but I think for now I'd be happy in watching kids explore their own creative mind.

That is, I'm not in a hurry to have kids ANY time soon, especially after writing all this. I'll take a pet first, please--one who doesn't require anything more than lots of love and belly-rubs!

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