— Zac Chase (@MrChase) January 3, 2016
I have a vivid memory of digging in the dirt underneath my grandmother’s deck, looking for arrowheads and brittle rocks that I could break with my fingers. The house was on the top of a hill and the land all around was covered with tall trees. I felt like an archeologist, or whatever my 7 year old self would call putting together dinosaur bones.
While I was digging, I would imagine all sorts of things. I would dream up situations where the arrowheads would imbue me with magic or lead to solving mysteries. I would have hours to think of these things. On my own. With no parents or brothers to interrupt my imaginings.
This time does not exist at 32, with 3 children of my own. I cannot just play and make believe something into existence. This lack of time would have been anathema to my 7 year old self. Without robust internal dialogue between imaginary characters or seeing every handheld object as a symbol of my future greatness, I think little Ben would be pretty disappointed.
I’d like to think that he would like my kids though. He would certainly be impressed at just how much they can do on computers and tablets. He would also like how much they write and think and dream on their own. While they may have more shiny distractions from their imaginations than I ever did, they still play and pretend. They still open up their minds to things that aren’t real except for them. 7 year old Ben would have been right at home.
I think that is part of imagination legacy. I have left it to my kids, and it is up to them to keep it going, to nurture it by digging down deep into the dirt to see what they can find.