imagination

#5: The Power of Boredom

When we were bored as young children, we simply imagined our way out of the boredom by dreaming up something that interested us. We imagined not just fantastic creatures, places and activities, but entire mysteries, with complex plots, that grew and evolved over time! Our imaginations weren’t some isolated inner process. We lived them!

I believe the powers of imagination that we developed to fill our own empty time were the foundation for my lifelong creative explorations (including, of course, Shankman & O’Neill books).

Today, I’m never bored because there’s never enough time to finish my own thoughts and imaginings. So that’s what I do, happily, in every empty moment.

The next time you’re trying to figure out how to structure your child’s time, consider this: when it comes to developing imagination, boredom is a wonderful teacher.

#3: Rhyme Against the World

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Kids don’t have much control over the world around them. (Heck, who does?) But if you teach them the power of imagination, they can create their own rich inner worlds where they can play by their own rules, experience unlimited adventure (without consequence), and enjoy a lifetime of rewards. One way to help children unlock the power of imagination is to show them examples of creativity and explain that these were created by people, just like them, using nothing more than imagination and hard work. And one example of creativity that speaks powerfully to children is a rhyming book. (I know, because I was a child once.)

When I discovered, as a child, that I had the gift of rhyme and meter – that I could hone the music of words into shiny gems of thought and story – I felt as though I had discovered a treasure, a treasure that had no cost and that no one could take from me. By exercising this gift, I also discovered the awesome power of discipline (a lesson that has served me in ways far beyond creative writing).

For young children, rhyming books are more than just a shelter from the storm: they are proof that we have the power to create our own joy and sanity, regardless of external events, by exercising our inner gifts. That is an important lesson for a child. And for us all. 

I encourage parents and teachers to read rhyming books to their children. But do not forget to point out that someone, a person like them, created these stories out of nothing but imagination and hard work. And that we all have imaginations and the ability to work as hard as we like.