Imagine 6 kids, all under the age of 13, running around a yard, screaming and laughing, when suddenly, as you drive past, all of the kids suddenly disappear. Gasping in surprise, you just drive on. That was me and my 5 best friends, practically my family. When we were little we would always hide from approaching cars, we pretended as if we were spies, or magical creatures, elves, or animals. Who knows what we thought and created that day. It was always changing, with our moods, hopes and newfound ideas.
Our lives progressed like this, with creativity and make believe. We lived a rich life; for a period of times as elves, protecting trees with spirits from the evil forces bent on their destruction. One tree, in my best friend’s front yard was massive, with one branch just low enough for reasonable climbing. We named her Luna and spoke to her as we touched our hands to her massive trunk. We felt her pain, we fought to protect her. We learned.
I love talking to friends of mine that I didn’t know back then, and I always laugh as we compare favorite childhood games. They say things like Pictionary, or Monopoly, while I laugh and ask: “Really? My friends and I played ‘Guardians’, ‘Tree Children’ and ‘Night in the Wax Museum’”. Then they all raise their eyebrows in skepticism and shake their heads. ‘Guardians’ was by far our best game. We each controlled an element in our made up land, that we even drew a map for once. My best friend and I were always Night and Day, opposites who worked in tandem; similar to our real friendship, opposites in many ways, working exceptionally well together. We would use our elements to attack one other, would strike up peace treaties and always worked against an evil force. We would run and play and laugh and then scream when something didn’t go our way. But hey, kids will be kids.
Thinking about this now, there’s no way I’d trade my make believe games for anything. I used to be embarrassed by the weird things I did with my 5 companions, but now, I feel as if they increased potential and growth. The imagination a kid uses when they are forced to come up with their own entertainment is so important. An exercised imagination is an irreplaceable attribute because it allows you to think on your feet and develop new, innovative solutions to old stale problems. I believe in make believe. I learned to think, to be different, and to create new things. The simple freedom of a make believe game becomes a necessary feeling. Every kid needs to feel in charge of something. Every kid needs to feel special. These games gave me the ability to work with people, express myself and really become a person possessing creativity and a good head on her shoulders. Without make believe, this wasn’t possible. This I believe.