What is responsible for the gap in imagination?
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Well, it’s been an eventful week. I conducted a wedding ceremony over the weekend, it was my first time doing something like that and the stakes were high. I was marrying off two of my oldest friends and I couldn’t have been more delighted in the experience. I intended to write another blog post over the weekend, but celebrations and reunions took precedent. Now I am experiencing true exhaustion. The ceremony required a lot of mental focus and the reception drained all of my social energy. Drudging my way back into school reminded me that I need to maintain that focus and energy for the rest of the week. I feel like a 4-year-old phone battery.
I found myself in a discussion about imagination and contemplated the thought that the most boring and tedious moments of my life fostered an active imagination. I expressed that a large portion of students I encounter have difficulty imaging things. Maybe it was those moments I had running around in the woods unsupervised as a child that cultivated creativity. Maybe it was the offensively uninteresting moments that I sat staring at blank walls or desks, completely in my head. Somewhere within that catalog of desk-drooling and textbook staring, I learned how to envision things and immerse myself in different worlds. I must have looked strange as a student.
This conversation sparked a chain of thoughts. It seems too easy to blame technology for this unimaginative generation. To be fair, these children were born with I-Phones and YouTube. They have had more access to information than any previous generation on this earth. They are constantly bombarded with stimulation from every facet of life. They hold a device that connects them to everyone and everything in the world. These kids are utterly plugged in.
I can’t definitively say that the boom of technology is responsible for this anomaly, but it is certainly a factor. I thought about daydreams. Daydreams are where I spent most of the mundane moments of my childhood. I would imagine full conversations, relationships, and entire lives. If I wasn’t engaging with somebody or something in the outside world, I was actively engaging with myself in my head. I wonder how long the human brain can sustain that level of exertion. Daydreams were pleasant, I could escape from a boring lecture and disappear into my mind. I’m curious to see how many of these students can also retreat into their own worlds. I can’t define the barrier, but I’m searching for a key to open these students up to their imaginations.
Is clinically induced boredom a thing?
I suppose that these children need exposure to all forms of creativity to unlock that imagination that they assuredly have. We call it differentiation, but really, it is just bird-shot. Sometimes we hit our target and inspire young minds and sometimes we whiff. I intend to open the robotic minds of this portion of the youth and install new hardware. Without the foundation of imagination, critical thinking is far out of reach.
Is it even possible to teach someone to daydream?
Would that be the biggest mistake of my career?
I don’t have answers to these questions. I can only hedge my bets that I can find some way to connect to these goblins and clear a path to creativity.
I spent my commute silently contemplating these thoughts. Having the same conversation in my head, that I’m typing up now. Perhaps you do the same thing, imagine conversations in your head, stare off into space, fantasize about a life you could never live, drool on your desk; Keep daydreaming.