Daily Archives: June 4, 2009

The End of the Sidewalk for Imagination?

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Can today’s children still find this place — the place where the sidewalk ends? Among the loud promises of  TV commercials and the buzz and clang of video games, can they hear the quite place where chalk-white arrows go? Do they even know to look? Do they have time to breathe, to relax, to think? To create their own worlds, versus those that are readily supplied for them by adults, marketers, and game developers?

I don’t like the answers these questions are leading me to. How about you?

I look at the whimsical, yet meaningful words of Silverstein and I have no doubt that he was a man who played as a child. Who explored, and laughed, and failed a thousand times and soared to great heights in worlds of his own making.

If creativity and innovation are the future of the workforce and society, how can we expect to meet them successfully if we don’t give children’s minds the room to roam? The power to dream and the freedom to fail?

I’m going outside to think. To dream. To problem-solve. I am so grateful I was given the space — the freedom — to develop these skills as a child. They have served me well.

See ya outside! – The Grass Stain Guru

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