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Baking an Imaginary Cake
“Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.”-Walt Disney
As a seven year old girl, I was proud to be a “tomboy”. I never played with dolls, preferring to use the computer as my source of entertainment. In my house, any Barbie dolls were found buried in the corners of the closets rarely seeing the light of day. So when I babysat a little girl ten years later, I was forced into very unfamiliar territory.
After her mother left, she immediately ran over to a large toy chest, that was big enough to fit four small children, and dumped its contents all over the floor.
“Here, take this one…and this one…and…this one! He’s my favorite but you can be him today.” She handed me a plastic sheep, a blue bear with a star on its stomach and a doll whose head was bigger than its body. “And I’ll be Teddy, Honey and Ellie. They’re all sisters and they live together in that pink house over there. OK? Alright, so let’s go!”
Immediately, she slipped into the characters of her plastic creatures, doing their voices and personality as naturally as I would brush my teeth. “Well aren’t you gonna play?” she asked turning to me. I realized I was still standing where she handed me my toys.
“Yeah,” I said with uncertainty, “Umm…” I was stuck. What name and personality could I give to a plastic sheep? ‘Sheepy’ the sheep? Well, it was worth a shot. “This is ‘Sheepy’” I said slowly, judging her reaction to the predictable name. “And he umm… likes…apples.” That was the best I could come up with? He likes apples? To my surprise, Mary enjoyed it.
“Ha-ha that’s perfect! Honey likes apples too! Her and Sheepy can be friends!” She said smiling. “We’re going to have a birthday party for Ellie today. Sheepy and Honey can bake her cake okay?”
Before I knew it an hour had passed and the toys had to be put away. Secretly, I wanted to play with them some more. Never would I have thought that a seemingly boring plastic sheep could turn into a culinary legend, baking the tastiest birthday cake in the universe.
Walt Disney was right. Within a child’s mind the possibilities are endless. Without imagination, the world we know today would not exist. Steve Jobs used his imagination to create Apple just as Walt Disney used his to create America’s beloved cartoon mouse. Even though some people associate imagination with children, it is something that as adults we should embrace as well.
From babysitting, I have learned that imagination is a necessary tool to succeed in today’s technology based society. As technology advances, the demand for new ideas will increase dramatically so we can remain competitive. Although I never used it as well as Mary did when I was a kid, I am confident my imagination is something I will need in the future.
Who knows, I might even become an Imagineer.