“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
A child’s potential is unlimited.
From the moment they step out into the world they begin to experience a constant influx of positive and negative signals. The way those signals are interpreted depend highly on the guidance and environment that child has grown up in. The messages they are exposed to with the greatest frequency, or with the strongest intensity will have the greatest lasting impact and will be carried with them throughout their lifetime.
For children to reach their truest potential, all children need to dream. All children need to believe in a world of endless possibilities. All children need to see themselves as capable of doing amazing things.
For the most economically disadvantaged child, these core beliefs are more than essential, they are critical. Very often the messaging these children receive combined with the reality of their surroundings move them in the opposite direction of possibilities. Suffered long enough, children who lack positive messaging eventually develop a permanent core belief system that is devoid of vision and full of limits.
The Power of Imagination
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
LEVEL 1 – THE FOUNDATION: IMAGINATION
Imagination is everything.
All great advances in mankind come from the imagination. Not just math, or science, or engineering, but from a spark that takes a single thought into the vast universe and drags an entire generation into a new and exciting direction. Too often our youngest minds are bombarded with curriculums and standards and measurements when not nearly enough attention is paid to creating giant, vivid imaginations.
The first core value we hope to instill is to build powerful imaginations. A child who is capable of dreaming is capable of seeing possibilities that do not exist and have not been done. The foundation for any child to reach their potential is to imagine that nothing is impossible.
All children are born with wonderful imaginations. Like any muscle in the body, imaginations grow strong when they are stimulated and exercised repeatedly and grow weak when they go unused. Through The Imagination Project children will not only learn the importance of their imaginations, but to use them, often and relentlessly, to solve any problem, and to have ridiculous amounts of fun in the process. When a child masters the art of imagination, their world expands, opening up their potential in ways no other toolset can. This is the first step in actually seeing a world of endless possibilities.
LEVEL 2: BELIEF
The second core value is belief. This is more challenging than one might think. While the human spirit wants to believe that anything is possible, the world around us can be a constant portent of negative messaging. From the time they begin to express their very first dream, children are faced with an incredible wall of doubters and naysayers waiting to tell them what is not possible, and what they cannot do.
Our goal is to teach children to build an unassailable fortress of their own, where they refuse to surrender their dreams to anyone. If imagination is the spark, then believing in the power of the imagination is the fuel that allows it to travel anywhere.
LEVEL 3: A WORLD WHERE ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
This level represents the first desired outcome of combining the first two core values. Anything is truly possible when a child is able to combine an immense universe of imagination with the belief that dreams are possible. A child who has successfully built this belief system is no longer confined by the boundaries of the reality facing them, no matter how difficult the circumstance.
LEVEL 4: SELF BELIEF
Reaching the belief system in the third level on this graph is a powerful accomplishment for any child. But we believe that one final step is needed. In order for a child to reach their full potential they must believe deep in their heart that they are capable of accomplishing these dreams. This can be tough for any child. This is particularly tough for those on the bottom of the socio-economic scale. While many of their more affluent counterparts may be raised in a world where parents are professionals and higher education is an after-thought for most members of their family, children from economically disadvantaged environments can come from a world that is quite different. While they may be able to see the possibilities of life and have big dreams, deep down their core belief system tells them that those possibilities really exist for someone else. The final and most critical step in this process is to connect the world of possibilities to the child’s vision of themselves.
THE FINAL RESULT: THE EMPOWERED CHILD
When a child can successfully combine a belief system that anything is possible with the belief that they themselves are capable of anything, that child is truly empowered. This is where dreams take flight, where the spark of the imagination and the fuel of belief ignite.
We can create empowered children even at the lowest socio-economic levels by instilling in them a permanent core belief system that prepares them to take on the multitude of challenges life will present, convinced they are capable of enormous success. We believe this begins with the imagination, grows with the belief that a world of endless possibilities exists and becomes a permanent functioning toolset when a child truly believes that following their dreams is as natural as tying their shoelaces in the morning.
How do you teach all of this to a five-year-old, you might ask? You start with fun.