One week ago, I participated in a course where, as a community builder, we were asked to describe ourselves when we were at our best. I struggled a bit with that (for some reason, those kinds of activities never really warm me up when I am meeting new people, no matter how much they might do for the other people in the room). Ultimately, I did arrive at one of those “true enough” responses: I am at heart a playful man on a serious mission. That is when I am at my best.
I have been this way all my life, but it has always been an uneven existence. Missions have always come easy to me, but the sense of play unfortunately was too often suppressed when I was under pressure. I suppose I just thought that that was what adult life demanded of me, but maybe it is just a deeper flaw within me. To be honest, there were too many days, too many causes, too many skirmishes in my life where I ran like an ancient Celtic warrior from some metaphorical oak forest to attack on behalf of my missions. Perhaps even more unfortunately, there were times when I truly relished the battles. But, and I should add this quickly, I also made a good number of runs to protect people and causes I believed in, so it was not all just attack. I’m older now, and I am more committed to a mission/play balance.
Two years ago, I decided to really take a serious stab at play (if such a thing is possible): I committed myself to writing poetry. This post is one of those poems. It deals with imagination. I did not want to run into imagination (I am kind of a big guy and running into imagination might be harmful to it!) My goal was really to run with imagination, and I think the poem speaks to that.
In terms of the blog, the poem establishes a trajectory, or contour, for the next series of posts that I intend to make. Believe it or not, I would like to take a playful look at a serious mission. I would like to see how imagination and a sense of play might be useful in terms of how we go about doing what can be a routinely dull thing in education, namely planning out the curriculum for our students so that they might be more engaged with their learning. I would like to help create a world where the quality of life for students and teachers alike might be improved with a larger role for play and imagination in instruction.
We’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the poem!