As I started my position as music and drama director, I was bursting at the seams with anticipation for how I’d be able to spark and inspire campers and their interests in the arts. My spring was spent planning with intensity; creating curriculum and programming that would keep campers engaged and growing. I was confident in what I had created and my ability to teach young ones as the summer progressed. It didn’t take long though for me to realize that in most cases, it would be me who would be doing the learning. Dont get me wrong, I am affirmed in my abilities ( and still stand by the summer’s awesome programming), but wonder and awe are not teachable skills, simply qualities with a preciousness beyond description; that is what I learned. I will always recall a conversation shared by my most prominent teacher in the arts. She shared a story of her daughter inquiring about her job. Her daughter didn’t quite understand the parameters of being a “Drama Teacher”
“Mommy, what do you do for a living?” “I teach big kids how to pretend again”
For me, creativity and spontaneity are foundations in life, but that statement wouldnt and couldnt be true if it weren’t for my literal training surrounding the topics. My ability to so swiftly rhyme of new lyrics or solutions to scenes doesn’t come solely from an innate ability, but instead from a drive to permanently program what was once known to me as a second nature. My drama teacher was precisely correct with what she explained to her daughter, her job ( quite successfully executed ) was to teach me and my peers how to pretend: something we had somehow let slip away from us in our adolescent years.
Our imagination becomes this sort of nostalgic knick knack that we keep on the top shelf, or in a box in the basement. It’s there, sure, but it only ever seems to come down when we have guests to entertain or reunions of sorts in which its mention arises.
Your children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews your littles ones showed me all summer long the incredible gift that is pure, raw imagination. Through their open and oogled eyes, I was able to see things that no improv workshop or theory course could ever teach me : The wonder of wonderment.