When I was young, I spent many hours outside in the summer sun dreaming about who and what I would be when I grew up. One summer I was certain that I had it all figured out. A new house was being built right beside ours. In the spring a concrete foundation was poured. I ventured over to see a flat expanse of concrete waiting for me. No matter that there were tubes sticking up here and there, my ice rink awaited me.
I got up early, strapped on my metal-wheeled skates and I skated the day away. I skidded and schreeked my way across the concrete, whirled around the plumbing tubes and lifted my arms in victory as I bumped down the step to the eventual garage. In my mind I heard the crowd roar as I twirled and swirled. I tried some feeble jumps and decided that my forte was in lifting one leg high while the other stayed safely on the ground.
I am sure the neighbor’s thought there was something wrong with me. I skated every minute that I could out on that slab where the whole world could see. What they didn’t realize was that some days I was Dorothy Hamill on the ice. Other days I was roaring around in a circle competing in the world Roller Derby. I was transported to a time and place that only I could see. I was willowy and graceful on ice and never-back-down tough on the roller rink. I was a new me.
The trucks of lumber came for the new house and I had to find new dreams. I had a brief stint as Commander in Chief of the GI Joe Regiment around our neighborhood, then I was a professional short stop, until I became a preacher to the lost. I loved to baptize others but that career was quickly snuffed out when I was crowned Miss America. I was so sultry I steamed the sidewalks as I walked the path from the driveway to the front door in my gown made entirely of used beach towels strapped to my body with a belt cinched tightly at armpit level. The gowns were strapless. Oh, yes they were.
I don’t suppose the neighbors ever complained about the singing to momma and daddy. “Here she comes…” belted out each time I walked the driveway/runway that connected our yard to theirs. I got pretty good at it you know.
Summer time was wonderful. I had time to think. I had time to dream. My thoughts were entirely my own. I was not reliant on the creativity or imagination of anyone else to get me through the day. If I was bored (I certainly never said it out loud), I created a world with all the trimmings. I had the power to do that. It set me free to consider all that life had in store for me.
It seems to me that we have gradually taken the dreaming time away from our children/grandchildren by giving them so much stuff or enrolling them in so many activities that IF they are still for more than a moment they fall asleep. Information is constantly being pumped into their heads. Information that is created by someone else telling them who they should be, how they should act, what they should feel. They get very little time to test the waters of their own imagination to figure out who THEY want to be, how THEY want to be seen by others and make a plan of how to accomplish that dream. It is difficult to dream when the biggest worry of the day concerns chargers and connectivity.
I am thankful that I was born in the time before the electronic gadgets boom. I learned to trust myself. I learned to prepare for the next day. I learned how to take care of myself and others. I don’t have an addiction to useless information. I know the difference between private and public and I still love to sit outside and dream.
A new summer is here. School is out. I make my kids unplug for a set period of time each day. I want them to learn the value of silence and being alone to orchestrate their own thoughts and actions. I want them to ponder the complexities of life and think about solutions – even crazy solutions. I want them to envision their place in this world and their importance to themselves and to others. In short, I want them to lay under the clouds and dream.
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”