I love writing stories for children. They have no limits. They haven’t started to consider where their ceiling is in life; though, at any age, none of us should. Life usually hasn’t given them doubts in the basic good of all people or drawn any boundaries around their imaginations. Nothing is impossible.
Everything, every thing, has potential. Every idea, every word can launch a dream. But then in life we have to, as guides through this world, sometimes say to our children, “You can’t”, “We can’t”, “I can’t”. And as much as it is needed, once introduced to “can’t”, how can they not begin to wonder what else they can not do. It starts to seep out of the necessary world of safety can’ts (“You can’t cross the street alone”) and into the world of potential can’ts (“I can’t do better.”).
One of the saddest can’ts to me is the one that limits imagination. Specifically the one that limits imagining itself. The one that labels it as a waste of time, silly, pointless. I’m not sure what it is exactly that creates this particular can’t – realizing the movie isn’t real, your favorite superhero is fake, or, like me, Mrs. Butterworth is not going to talk to you over your morning waffles. Whatever it is that causes us to belittle the importance of our imaginations, it has to be unlearned. Imagination is the catalyst to change.
How can we not stretch the boundaries between what is possible and what is not possible if we do not imagine what lies beyond that point and believe it can be reached. And it truly is only a point. One second separates possibles from impossibles. We have already seen the impossible become possible. We landed a man on the moon! In fact we’ve traveled so far beyond that point, that landing a man on the moon hardly seems all that impressive. But alot of us don’t really remember it’s time of “can’t be done”. We didn’t really experience the breakthrough. And that point only gets passed because one person or one group of people never truly believed in that particular kind of “can’t”.
Yeah, that’s what I love about writing for kids. Their imaginations’ boundaries are hazy. They can grasp an impossible idea and ride with it. A story can open the mind. Not even because of the story itself. Stories give doubts a chance to rest and may just make way for inspiration. Creativity comes out to play. A story can exercise their beautiful imaginations. And maybe that one particular kind of “can’t” doesn’t get a chance to build a wall, leaving intact their boundless potential.