I love doing these “Ms. Bits N’ Bobs” shows, the “Lazy Lizzie” shows, the “India Jane Adventurer Supreme” shows. They are fleeting images of my imagination that I have somehow managed to bring to life. When I do the shows and the faces of the children light up as they turn a blank space on the wall into a giant, rainbow colored butterfly who can say Hi! or the scary, fiery-red dragon on the other wall shoots their favorite ice-cream into their imaginary cones – then I know that what I am doing is truly worthwhile.
Unfortunately, a day passes and I’m dealing with homework from three different grades, trying to get a smidgen of healthy food into my kids, making sure they are not watching too much television, and my confidence, spending time in the imaginary versus the real world, quietly goes into the dungeon. I figure, surely there are more worthwhile things to do with my life, than tell stories from the Land of Imagination.
I say this not for a pity party, ‘cos as you can see I am valiantly going forth in my adventure of bringing “The Land of Imagination” to our local theatre community. It comes from a conversation that I had with my youngest daughter, Tallulah recently. Part of her homework was to fill in a chart that talked about her experiences in 1st grade. What were her happiest moments, draw a picture of herself, what advice would she give to any incoming 1st graders etc… One of the questions was what was your saddest moment in 1st grade. I thought Tallulah was going to respond with a disagreement with one of her friends, a sharing of a toy issue… instead her reaction was so extreme that I became seriously concerned about it. First of all, the “saddest thing” was so sad, that she couldn’t even tell me. She could only write it down. It happened on the 100th day of school, January. It had to do with a teacher, not her teacher, but another teacher. Well, you can imagine where my imagination went with that one. After a two hour build up, it turned out that one of the 1st grade teachers at the school had used a harsh tone with Tallulah when she didn’t know where the pencils were kept in the classroom.
“Did she yell at you, Tallulah?”
“Nope, she just used her really mean voice. I thought she had been such a nice teacher up until then. Why does she hate me so much?”
Now from my lofty post as an adult, I could totally imagine the situation. The teacher probably didn’t think twice of the moment. On another child, the comment might have been water off a ducks back. The extremity of the innocent reaction has a touch of sweet humor to it. But my little Tallulah had been heartbroken by it, which of course broke my heart. What to do? I went and discussed the situation with Tallulah’s teacher, a remarkable woman, who I will refer to in name as one with a gulf as deep as the Grand Canyon in thoughtfulness, candor and love. We agreed that the courage that Tallulah had shown was that despite the embarrassment, the pain and the heartbreak she had finally come forward to share her worst day of first grade with her mommy.
Now how does this relate back to Nicole and her fears that “The Land of Imagination” is not a worthwhile addition to the world at large – I think that you have to have the courage of your convictions to put it out there. If an imagination can be encouraged to trust itself, then perhaps one can imagine being brave and slaying the dragon of your fears. Each day you have the courage to put forth your best foot into the world, your imaginary bravery gets translated into real courage. Your creative ideas get a foothold in real ideas and you have created your own courageous destiny.