When I was a kid, I had a huge imagination. My backyard could be anything I wanted it to be: a castle, a ship, an abandoned tree house. I didn’t need any toys or costumes to help me play, I just needed my imagination and a story.
Now I’m sixteen and still a kid, but I have lost that sense of imagination, that ability to transform my surroundings or become someone else. Now it is just a nostalgic memory that I look back on with longing.
For the first time in a long time, I was reminded of that nostalgia yesterday when my 4 year old nephew came to play with me.
My nephew Porter is super energetic and busy all the time and one of his favorite things to do it to go outside. I usually don’t enjoy being outside with him long because he wears me out. In the past, the only game Porter liked to play with me was tag; which involves lots and lots of running. I don’t like running.
Yesterday, Porter begged me to come outside and play tag. I chased him around the house a few times and flopped to the ground in exhaustion. I desperately searched my mind for another game that would interest him. We played hide and seek and I-spy, but those games didn’t last long. He simply was not interested enough in those.
I was just about to give up when I had an idea.
I walked to my backyard porch, which rises above a pretty high rock wall. I picked up a bungee cord and attached it to the railing of my porch.
“What are you doing?” Porter asked.
I smiled. “Arrgh, I’m sailing the ocean on my Pirate Ship.” I held onto the bungee cord and pretended to pull it like a wheel.
Porter came up to me and looked at my imaginary ship. “Can I come?”
“Yessir. But first, you must swear the Pirate Oath.” I grabbed the nozzle sprayer of a hose and held it up like a hook.
Porter looked around the porch and picked up a small fire poker from beneath the fire pit. He held it up too. “Arrgh” he said.
From then on, he sailed the ship and I watched the seas for trouble. We ran into other pirates, found treasure, and escaped from monsters. And the best thing was, Porter made up most of our adventures.
We were outside until his dad came to pick him up. He was sad to leave, but he made me promise that we would play again next time. He had such a great time thinking up fun scenarios and stories that we could act out.
This was such an eye-opener to me. Before yesterday, I had only played structured games with Porter like hide and seek. or red light, green light. It was much more exciting to create our own fun.
As we begin to develop and grow into adulthood, we store that huge imagination in the attic. We forget the power of creativity that never ceased to bore us as children. I got to see imagination through the eyes of a child again. It made me realize how much I missed having those daring adventures.
Take the time to have those adventures with your kids or siblings. Not only will it be fun for you too, but you will get to know a part of your child that you have never discovered before.