We have been challenged in ways that we never imagined this year. I want to send my warmest wishes to everyone for 2021. I am wishing you grace through the challenging moments and gratitude for the simple moments. And if there is one thing I know for certain, it’s when we let go and absorb ourselves in play, we are filled with JOY!
When I was a little girl I remember sitting in the window sill of my room with the curtain closed late at night. I would stare out the window. I loved how peaceful it felt. I loved looking at the stars, dreaming or playing with my imagination.
I would sit and imagine how it would be to go out into the night, what others were doing in their homes, if I was the only one up, if animals were lurking around outside and mostly what I might be when I grew up one day. I thought of extraordinary careers as a famous movie star, a singer, a dancer, a fashion designer and even a writer. Although, as an adult I never considered a career in writing. I remember winning a writing competition for a children’s story I wrote about about traveling to space, landing on a planet of ice cream and meeting the aliens that lived there. The story was published in our local newspaper. I was so proud. It was part of the inspiration for my new book, Playdate In Outer Space, along with a real playdate my kids had with their friends one afternoon.
When I was in High School, instead of a typical graduation party, I begged my mom to take me to California to see Hollywood and she did. An experience I’ll never forget. I was always writing songs or writing down the lyrics of songs so that I could sing them out loud. I would often play dress up, play with makeup and write in my journal about my hopes and dreams. Using my imagination was the most fun. I missed that part of me as an adult until it returned in my new passion of writing children’s picture books.
Imagination is a gift that we are given. It is used every day in so many ways. It can be used to entertain us, invite us to new places when bored, motivate us to follow our dreams and heal us from challenging times in life. You can rely on your imagination in many ways and it’s important that we nurture it and teach our children the importance of their imagination. When we are in the moment, imagination can flow and bring out some of our most creative ideas. Or, our imagination can be used to resolve some of our greatest problems. I truly believe that what we imagine, we can manifest in this life with hard work, persistence and passion.
I remember another favorite spot of mine as a child where my imagination soared-it was my favorite tree out in this large field. A good friend of mine and I would sit and play for hours under this tree. I always think of it as my “dreaming tree.” One day when thinking of this special tree, I wrote a poem that captures the moment.
Our Dreaming Tree
The air is cool
The air is crisp
Cookie smells are in the midst
The wind is blowing
Leaves are falling
We feel free–creativity is flowing
We are playing and having fun
Dreaming under our tree of what’s to become
Full of hope that’s infinite
Running, jumping, shouting with joy
Life should be this way–to enjoy
Souls are talking
Birds are gawking
Dreaming under our tree
Dreaming of what’s to become
Our Dreaming Tree
A special place
Where we all are…ONE
I watched an interview one day of Tim Story, author and Life Coach. Tim said, “God imagined us before we were born. We are born unique, so why be a copy?” I love how he says that God IMAGINED us. Tim then went on to say that when we were kids, we had great imaginations. And we don’t want to lose this gift-it’s what we chase as adults! And it’s so true. Tim said that just how God imagined us, it’s like a painter creating what he or she may paint on their canvas. I believe that using your imagination is a return to innocence and who you are meant to be. It’s a way of your soul talking to you.
I had the privilege of staying home full time for several years when my kids were young. I loved when our kids could enjoy free time to play. I recall coming downstairs at Christmas and my son talking to our Elf on the Shelf, Chippey, and telling him where to hide. Or, when my son found comfort talking to his imaginary friend, his pillow named Patchy. I loved when my kids would take my saline solution so they could make the perfect slime. How they would find a box, tie some balloons to the box, and they would call it a traveling time machine. Grab petals from the grass and mix them in water to create their own perfume. Grab a hammer and some rocks and pretend they were digging for fossils. They would throw on their rain coats and walk around our lawn looking for worms. Their imagination soared and they were fully in the moment!
Every single product that is invented was imagined by someone. Every problem solved is imagined to have a solution. Every goal that you set for yourself is first imagined by meeting that goal. It’s the starting point of any idea or project. And with hard work and perseverance, your imagination can be your reality. Your dreams will be your reality. You just have to believe in them. I think that’s so exciting. And why it’s so important we nurture this special gift in all of us.
Many of us know the famous quote by J.K. Rowling when she said in her 2008 Harvard Commencement address, “We don’t need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already, we have the power to imagine better.” This inspiring speech created much buzz and was a critical message to these Harvard graduates. She also spoke on the benefits of failure. She had dreams that the only thing she would do in life was write novels, but her family thought her over active imagination would never be an asset for her. And that it was an amusing quirk that would never pay the bills. She found herself in a dark period of life where she saw herself as a failure, but then she discussed the benefits of failure. Imagination was the solution to her rock bottom.
When we nurture playfulness and our imagination, we welcome new ideas into the world. And no matter how big or small, these ideas can change the world and create positive lasting change in your life and the life of your loved ones. One imagined idea can make all the difference. We must nurture, honor and celebrate the gift of play and imagination in our children so they embrace these gifts throughout their lifetime. One of my favorite films as a child was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. “There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination.” ~ Gene Wilder (as Willy Wonka). I love the scene in the movie when Gene Wilder sings the song, Pure Imagination. The children and their families experience the uniquely magical place of chocolate rivers and candy. Just watching this film or singing this song celebrates the gift of imagination and brings lasting joy to many.
Children remind us of the wonder of pure imagination. They remind us to see the joy and beauty in every day with awe and fascination. Who knows what we all could create one day, if we nurture the gift of our imagination?
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.” ~ Albert Einstein
Hoping you see and experience the world through the eyes of PLAY and IMAGINATION in 2021!
Motherhood has been one of the most rewarding experiences of Michele Foote’s life. After her children were born, she began a daily journal, recording the simple moments and adventures she shared with them. That journal inspired her picture books, What Should We Do Today, Mommy? and Love You to Pieces, which remind us of the joy of being in the moment and the power of unconditional love.
Michele’s third book, Playdate In Outer Space, celebrates the importance of PLAY! With a little imagination, there’s no telling where you can go in life!
Michele cherishes warm memories of growing up in Grand Blanc, Michigan. She now lives with her family in a northern suburb of Chicago.
To learn more, please visit www.michelefoote.com or follow Michele’s author page at www.facebook.com/byMicheleFoote.