“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”
— John Lennon
If you were to hear someone utter the phrase, “Dragons are eco-friendly transportation,” what would you think?
They’re crazy, they’ve been reading too many fantasy novels, they’re understanding of reality is a bit different? Maybe that’s what we would think in the ‘practical’ world. The world of cubicles, traffic jams and chain restaurants.
But thank goodness there is a place where kids don’t have to conform to the limitations of the ‘practical’ world. That place is a place about which I’ve written before. One of my favorite places. One where the destination is imagination.
Of course I’m talking about the great kids program Destination Imagination, and today was my first time being an appraiser at the Oregon DI Metro regional tournament. While I can’t tell you anything about the challenge I appraised because of rules, obligation, and a sense of fairness to every other DI team, I can tell you it was fun!
We got to watch kids at their creative best. We got to watch kids thinking and dreaming. We got to watch kids collaborate together, laugh together, be silly together, and yet be totally serious about solving a problem … together.
Don’t think imagination is important? As you are reading, contemplate this –
- Who’s idea was it to put a person on the moon?
- Who’s idea was it that humans didn’t need horses for transportation anymore?
- Who’s idea was it to automate dish washing, laundry and house cleaning?
- Who’s idea was it that someone like me could write his thoughts in Tigard, Oregon on a Saturday night and have them read across the planet one second later?
All of these were the idea of someone with an imagination. Someone with the courage to dream. A person that probably also had a few people in his or her life to support those dreams. Maybe even a volunteer.
It takes a lot of volunteers to put on a DI tournament. Today, I have been told there were 70 of us. Without volunteers this doesn’t happen. The volunteers help create the safe and encouraging environment to make the kids feel comfortable enough to be creative. An environment where clever solutions are encouraged. Where imagination is indeed, the destination.
And yes, today, someone actually did say – “Dragons are eco-friendly transportation.”
Who knows, maybe they really are.
Volunteered at the Oregon DI Regional Tournament as an appraiser; a volunteer job where one might hear of dragons as a possible solution to our dependence on foreign oil.