Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The value of daydreaming

by Rick Blechta

Years ago, my mom gave me an envelope filled with a bunch of my old report cards from grade school. I must have glanced at them at the time, but I don’t remember it. Looking for something in my filing cabinet the other day, I ran across them again.

Something really struck me as I thumbed through the stack. The first mention was in Grade 2: “Student has a very vivid imagination.” In Grade 3, two standout mentions: “I often catch Richard daydreaming,” and “Richard seems to enjoy creative writing assignments the most.”

In every year up to Grade 6 (as far as the report cards went), there are multiple mentions about creative writing assignments and repeatedly I’m gently chastised about daydreaming too much.

Of course now, this all makes sense, but I remember my mother talking to me about paying attention more in class. Since these reports are from roughly 60 years ago now, I can’t tell you what I was daydreaming about, but I do know that from an early age I was constantly making up little stories/scenarios about various things, most of them pretty mundane, even into university. It just seems to be part of my make-up.

I’m a strong believer in the power of a good imagination, as well as the value of daydreaming or even simply getting lost in thought. I think all go hand-in-hand and need to be nurtured. Neither of my sons had many comments on report cards about daydreaming, but both of them have pretty vivid imaginations and have written a few very intriguing stories over the years. Neither became a writer like their dad — probably a good thing considering what we get paid — but I’m always thrilled to read something they’ve written.

My question to all of you — readers and writers alike — is this: did you have these experiences in childhood? And how were they handled by the adults caring for you? I’ve heard some wonderful stories about nurturing these things, but also some pretty horrendous stories about “applying oneself to valuable things, not wasting time daydreaming and living in a ‘storybook’ world.”

So, what do you have to share with us?


Sybil Johnson said...

I think I was chastised for daydreaming a few times in grade school, but probably not much. I did pay attention most of the time. I do remember making up little stories in my head and I did enjoy the creative writing assignments in grade school and junior high.

Rick Blechta said...

I suffered through numerous calls of "Earth calling Blechta" from teachers while in school -- especially from the ones I didn't like.

I was always hyped when we got a creative writing assignment. I also once read a book report in class that I hadn't actually written down (my history homework was my prop). My teacher commended me until she asked me to hand it in. When she saw it was my history homework, that got torn up and I was in trouble with TWO teachers! Not a stellar day for moi…

Anna said...

I made up stories in my head and didn't write them down but always enjoyed English classes and writing assignments. When my 8th grade teacher asked me about my plans for the future, and heard that I expected to be a nurse, she shook her head gently and said, "Oh, no; something literary." I had no idea what she saw in me to make her say that, and dismissed her remark at the time -- but oh, have I ever remembered it since, with abiding gratitude.

Rick Blechta said...

Again, a lovely story, Anna. Thanks for commenting!

Donna S said...

I am afraid I cheated a bit in grade school in that when we had to write a book report about books we had read, I made up books with the author and title and the story line and got high marks for them! Glad the teachers never asked to see the actual books, LOL

Rick Blechta said...

Donna, I was a school teacher for 24 years (instrumental music), and seriously, I cannot really condemn what you did. That shows great creativity. I know I'll fry in Teacher Hell for saying that, but there you go.