Bird Droppings March 17, 2010
All is possible
“We live by our imagination, our admirations, and our sentiments.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I think back to childhood and games before the dawn of current video games and virtual reality. Many times we would create fantasies of Robin Hood and such in a small patch of shrubs not far from the house. Sherwood Forest was there midst the sassafras and sumac. I was reminded today as I looked out my own window here in Georgia seven hundred miles from that childhood patch of trees.
“The man who has no imagination has no wings.” Muhammad Ali
“I noticed an almost universal trait among Super Achievers, and it was what I call Sensory Goal Vision. These people knew what they wanted out of life, and they could sense it multi-dimensionally before they ever had it. They could not only see it, but also taste it, smell it, and imagine the sounds and emotions associated with it. They pre-lived it before they had it. And the sharp, sensory vision became a powerful driving force in their lives.” Stephen Devore
At what point is the imagination stifled? When is it in society we tend to stop allowing imagination as a rule. Is it as parents when we decide that an imaginary friend has to move on? Is it as teachers when we decide we only want nonfiction? I was walking about the school many months back and happened upon a group of students with a sort of running imagination. It is an ongoing epic of sorts where each day one of the group adds to the novel in process.
Then there is a comeback of sorts, some of the games of imagination that many youth play and from what I have seen and heard there are reenactments of not only the Civil War but medieval and numerous other eras in time. Several of the games also have life action meetings or festivals. You might be able to say imagination run wild.
“Peak performers develop powerful mental images of the behavior that will lead to the desired results. They see in their mind’s eye the result they want, and the actions leading to it.” Charles A. Garfield
Many years ago I had a friend who would doodle on paper imaginary inventions for example an egg cannon, designed for firing eggs across distances without breaking. I happened to remember that one idea and one day he built the cannon, it could shoot eggs about 100 yards. As he grew up first solving a problem at the place he worked then soon building a company that solved problems for others, imagination at work.
It has been years since I watched my dad make the first pusher pole, just a few days ago I was talking with a student about inventions and how he had made this simple pole. This student’s father an inventor as well had developed an ergonomic mop. As a child in the early sixties I remember my dad drawing then playing with several metal pieces and poles working on a simple idea to save crane workers hands in the steel mill. It seems steel workers would guide heavy loads being lifted with cranes with their hands to the truck often losing fingers and hands and an occasional life in the process. A simple pole with a metal head solved the problem. That idea also sold many thousands of pusher poles.
“Reason can answer questions, but imagination has to ask them.” Ralph Gerard
“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.” Napoleon Hill
Some of the great thinkers in education found their ideas in how children play and think, by observing children of all ways. However several people can see the same situation and walk away one with an idea and a hundred with nothing. The late Leonard Ring was a thinker and leading authority on Ergonomics internationally. Len Ring lectured around the world on such simple topics as “Bend your knees” a concept so simple it is literally funny but millions of dollars in workman’s compensation have been saved with that catch phrase and training programs. I met Leonard Ring in Macon Georgia in 1973 or so when he was attending a training session with my fathers company.
The teacher is a learner as well; Len was a student and a character, feisty and loud. He had been a fighter pilot in World War II for New Zealand and in a crash did massive damage to his legs and spine. It was in rehab he developed an interest in lifting and eventually physical therapy which was his chosen field and later his graduate studies in Ergonomics. After teaching the teacher in that class in 1973 or so which happened to be my father how to lift together they developed a program on back injury prevention.
On one trip to the US on a back injury prevention, “Bend your Knees” program tour, Len was staying with me. He told me the story of a recent consulting session at a steel fabricator in New Zealand. I was always amazed at his view of the world. Len was called into a plant where welder’s continuality burned their right hand across the back with their torches. Len saw the benches where they worked, welding torches hung on the right side of the bench. These were very sturdy steel benches. All the welders wore pigskin welding gloves the best made. All of the gear was excellent welding equipment. At first all looked great.
Len asked to watch a shift of work. The supervisor asked why, shouldn’t he be able to find issues with the design of the benches. Len again said all looked good but ergonomics also involves the people/human aspect. Len watched about four minutes of work and laughingly wrote his report. Out of ten welders on that shift eight were left handed. They would use their right hand to hold the piece being welded and get the torch from the right hand rack and cross their hand and then cross going back often with still a flame burning and a resulting burn on the right hand. Stations were restructured and workers were asked which handed they were and worked at correctly adjusted sites and no more burned hands. It was simply imagination.
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire; you will what you imagine; and at last you create what you will.” George Bernard Shaw
“It is usually the imagination that is wounded first, rather than the heart; it being much more sensitive.” Henry David Thoreau
I often wonder about how we can teach teachers to encourage imagination. Do you need imagination to teach imagination? Recently I saw a note from a high school principal, “take down the walls”. He was not referring to the physical walls of the building structure but those walls so often built that confine and limit student’s imagination.
“Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.” Jules Verne
In his time a fantasy writer. I wonder where we would class him today in literature. We now have great submarines and space ships all of which Jules Verne wrote about long before they came into existence.
“Understand that you, yourself, are no more than the composite picture of all your thoughts and actions. In your relationships with others, remember the basic and critically important rule: If you want to be loved, be lovable. If you want respect, set a respectable example!” Denis Waitley
As I close out this morning, spring break coming up and being what it is and I am getting lazier. I can imagine peace even world peace. Perhaps as the generals discuss and Senate and Congress ask questions maybe we can find solutions that do not involve greed. Please keep all in harms way on your minds and in your hearts.