Recently, I went out to dinner with my niece and nephew. They are 3 and 4 ½. I LOVE spending time with them. They are a tremendous amount of fun and their eyes are always wide with possibility. They not only see things as they are, but they also see into the infinite realm of their limitless imagination.
After dinner, we went out to “explore.” This often turns into a game of observing the ordinary and making it extraordinary. Essentially, I let their imaginations run free, and I simply follow in the wake of that possibility. It is always a magnificent and fun experience for me.
On this particular evening we were gazing out from a patio, across a street and into a train station parking lot. The kids would share what they see, shouting out each announcement as if they had just discovered an amazing treasure. “I see a car!” “I see a bird!” “I see a flower!” I would acknowledge their tremendous find with equal excitement.
“I see a purple tree!” shouted my nephew.
“Huh? You see a purple tree? Where?” I am always careful not to deny their possibility, imagination, or world as they see it, but a purple tree? Come on. I stared and I stared and I stared, but I could not see it. Of course, we all know trees are green. I kept asking where he saw the purple tree, wanting to get into his world. He kept pointing and insisting right there. Still, I could not see it. I would have sworn he was recalling a cartoon or perhaps a Dr. Seuss book.
Finally, after a good 30 seconds to a minute, I saw it. “Hmm. Look at that. A purple tree.” It was right there in front of me the whole time, yet, I did not see it. They were plum trees or perhaps Japanese maple trees.
The weeks following this experience, I saw a lot of purple trees. My eyes were wider with possibility. I didn’t just see trees as the green I expected them to be, I saw them as they truly are. And as a result, my world became more colorful.
I am continually amazed by how knowledge, wisdom and experience blind us not only to infinite possibility, but also to the world right in front of our eyes. As we are told, or learn, what is “right,” we eliminate what is possible. Our world shrinks, and we become more blind. This is one of the key reasons I LOVE and prefer to immerse myself into the world of children. They continually pave a path to limitless possibility and hope.
Where have you gone blind in your life? Can you no longer see what is in front of you? Can you see beyond what you know to be true into what is possible?
If, and when, your world gets smaller, take some time to connect with children. Suddenly you will see things you never have, or that you might have been missing for quite some time.
It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
If you want to miss out on the magnificence of life, live it as if you already know. Pretend you know all the answers. Pretend you know exactly how a person is. Pretend you know exactly what will happen next. Pretend you know what your life will look like because of what happened yesterday. Pretend you know what works and what doesn’t.
Just keep in mind . . . it is all pretend.
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