As a child I don’t remember one book in our home that wasn’t demolished by my drawing or writing. I don’t remember a day I dreaded going to school or a day I didn’t want to learn. As I grew so did my imagination; probably the only part of my body that had not failed me, the only part of my brain that I could experience life with. However, as I grew so did society – which leads me to my experience in secondary school. This was the time of life I had been preparing for since I was an infant and I had always wondered if school had failed me or if I had failed school? Instead of a place to nurture the young and help them grow it became a place buried under numbers, statistics, and rules. Numbers, statistics and rules that crushed what imagination children had. F stands for fail and for them it always will mean fail but there is a place in our heads where F stands for anything we want it to be: fantastic, funny, forever.
So ladies and gentlemen, why do YOU think your imagination is more important than your grades?
I know why.
Einstein once said, “Logic takes you from point A to B; imagination will take you everywhere.” This shows that even a man whose whole life was based on facts understands the importance of imagination and that it can do more than logic could ever do. Imagination helps make knowledge applicable in solving problems and is fundamental to integrating experience and the learning process. So knowing this, why do we then take away a child’s ability to imagine and replace it with facts they will never need in the real world?
Imagination is also one of the hardest things to keep alive under pressure. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Companies that are able to do so can reap significant value. In recessions and downturns, 14% of companies outperform both historically and competitively, because they invest in new growth areas.” Most jobs will be replaced with artificial intelligence in the future making imagination one of the only ways to earn a good living. This makes imagination the future of life, society and well being; and yet we are teaching our children and friends to live without creative imagination and in doing so destroying our future.
Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and theatre designer and he once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Do you know what that means? I know what it means, let me tell you. The one place that exists to forge our future is destroying it and blaming it on aging. In school we are taught to be one person the child with straight A’s and straight expectations and a straight future, the child that always listens and doesn’t draw during class, the child that doesn’t fidget or talk back, basically a child with no creative capacity because they were told they could never get a job in dancing or drawing or acting or poetry or any job that requires more creativity then logic.
So may I ask you a question? It’s actually a question I’ve already asked but instead of answering it I want to leave it wandering in your minds. Talking about wandering minds, mine seems to wander quite a lot. There are many benefits in daydreaming such as enhanced memory, problem solving (which we will come back to), empathy, focus and incubation. I did say I would come back to something, oh yes problem solving. Problem solving is a very important skill we should all have that actually requires lots of creative thinking. In order to get out of situations we have to be able to think up ways to make the problem easier to face or make the problem completely disappear.
So here is the question I asked at some point in this speech which I did forget to ask just now since I was busy rambling on about day dreaming because like I said before my mind wanders a lot. So I will ask this question and today you will leave – I hope – thinking about this question. Why do YOU think your imagination is more important than your grades? Or why isn’t it? You can do something to nurture your child’s imagination or you can let it starve, wither and die. It’s completely your choice: your future and your child’s future and their children’s future and their children’s future.