So, just what is lurking under your bed at night? What monsters with enormous eyes, furry feet and teeth like fangs are waiting to pounce on you?
If you have ever been a fan of Calvin and Hobbs, that wonderful creation of Bill Watterson, or a three year old anywhere, then you surely know the answer to that question! And, if you have a three year old, or thereabouts, living in your house, it is highly likely, flashlight in hand, that you have done many a night’s search, looking under the bed for those monsters! There aren’t really any there of course but in the imagination of a young child they might just be hiding for the right moment to pounce! And what a marvelous, wonderful, scary and creative gift imagination is! A stuffed tiger becomes a real playmate, superheroes fly through the air and the moon comes up at night pulled by a magical string of lights called stars.
Fortunately, the magic of imagination is not just for children. The human spirit is lifted by the music, words, art, and story of generation after generation of creative people whose talents flowed from the well of imagination that was a part of the birthright of each ones childhood.
Imagine what the world would be like if all the magic of creativity were to suddenly disappear. What a tired, bland, dreary existence there would be if the imaginative and creative spirit so evident in the youngest among us was never transformed into the refreshing and reassuring energy that makes our souls shine with excitement. In short, imagination and creativity go hand in hand to be the very heart that makes human life yearn to reach for lofty goals and to relish each days existence.
It would make sense, then, that such valuable tools, inseparable patterns of human development and thus predictors of good and noble deeds, would be nurtured throughout the entire life span. Unfortunately, however, that notion seems to be in pretty short supply these days. Rather than embracing change and confronting challenges with the confidence of their creative ability, too many of our leaders are pulling the covers over their heads, screaming about the monsters under our beds and invoking fear as the only resort to our salvation.
Surely, we can do better than this. Surely, we have, waiting in the wings, those who understand and value their childhood treasures of stuffed animals, imaginary friends and triumph over the monsters under their beds. Leaders who are not afraid to look in the face of fear and who are not afraid to stare down the greed, self centered ideologies and regressive actions that limit our creativity and turn our children’s imagination into horror stories.
If we are ever to be free of the fear lurking in every dark corner of our lives, we must learn from our children and laugh outright at all those silly monsters that live only in amazing imaginations. Then, perhaps, we can turn to the real work that our creativity desires to embrace.