Last weekend my family watched The Neverending Story. In it, the land of Fantasia is being devoured by the Nothing. Fantasia is the land of human imagination, and it is dying. Only the boy reading the story can save it! My kids enjoyed it, we returned the library to the movie, and that was that.
Until today, that is.
My five-year-old son leaped into my office and proclaimed, “I’m the Nothing and I’m eating everything!”
Well, obviously such a statement had to be shared on Facebook. I mean, really, children were made for Facebook posts, weren’t they? I can’t imagine any other purpose for them.
Anyway, a friend posted something that made me think: “however he is using his imagination which is the antithesis of the nothing.”
I replied, “So in imitating the Nothing he is defeating it?”
And my friend answered, “precisely. thus proving he understood the movie perfectly.”
Is this really the way to create imagination? To ask kids to try to destroy it? I dunno. It’s counter intuitive, and yet… it makes sense to me. After all, if someone was to destroy imagination, they’d have to use their imagination to figure out a way to do it, right? It’s a cyclical solution!
And yet the Nothing really is the biggest threat. It devours everything… and leaves nothing behind. Do children have imagination today? I work with teens in my calling as a pastor. I can see that at the least their brains don’t work the same way mine did even back then. Of course, I was never a normal kid, so maybe I shouldn’t compare to me.
They’ve got imagination, though they tend to bend their imaginations to areas that I would never have considered. They want to make the best video game video for Youtube and try to figure out how to do it. They make zombie videos. Can they create a better level on that video game?
Yeah, a lot of their imagination usage I see revolves around media, especially video games.
And yet… they’re still using their imaginations. The Nothing hasn’t devoured them. They are different than what I was… but maybe that’s not a terrible thing.
In the meantime, pretend you’re the Nothing and bite your thumb at it while you’re doing it.