Boxes with Endless Possibilities

Michelle - Sterling, Virginia
Entered on May 4, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Boxes have unlimited possibilities. I was an only child until I was eight, so I often found myself making up games and toys to stay entertained. I was able to take the most common of objects and turn them into games, people, houses, and fun.

At six years old, one of the most exciting days of my life was the day my grandpa brought a new big screen TV home. I stole the box it came in and made it my fun for the next two days. I played with it as-is. The first day, I turned it into a house. I slept in it, ate in it, played in it. The next day, I turned the box into a car. I gave it wheels, and decorated it with a red crayon. I stepped inside of it and walked around. My new car took me to the bathroom, it took me to the dinner table. I used the vacuum hose to give it gas when it ran low. After I was done playing, I looked around for my next adventure.

When I was twelve, I volunteered at a summer daycare center. These kids were that of the later techno baby generation. They were only interested in beating their next level on their Gameboy Advances as they sat on the floor and never spoke.

One day, I heard a cry of dismay from one of the boys, “My battery died! What am I going to do now?” I spotted an opportunity to make an impact. I jumped up and ran over to an upset Tommy. God forbid he was bored for two moments. I grabbed a tissue box and gave it to him. He looked confused until I told him he could have more fun with it than with his Gameboy.

Tommy looked at me in disbelief. I had Tommy decorate the box with crayons. Then, we attached an empty towel tube to the box to make a handle, and wrapped rubber bands around the box to make strings. Tommy looked at it with amazement and snatched it off the table. He started strumming it shyly in the corner of the room without attracting attention. Soon, he got a little louder.

One of the boys looked up from his Gameboy and walked over to Tommy. Tommy shared the guitar and soon, everyone had dropped their Gameboys on the floor, as they surrounded Tommy. All day, the kids made things out of everyday objects and had a blast.

Keeping myself entertained is something I have been able to enjoy my whole life. I can’t understand how people need technology to be happy. No one knows how to make up games or activities, or just go out for a walk and genuinely enjoy it. These are skills I’m proud to have. Call me strange, but I call it being self-sufficient. I believe in the power of imagination, even if it means playing with a box.