02/03/2014 01:27 pm ET | Updated Apr 05, 2014

Dadmissions: Is Our Imagination Dead?


We were walking around the bookstore and the kids each had their stack of purchases. They asked me if I wanted to buy a book and I said I was fine without one. Truth is, I read all day every day for my job: blogs, websites, newspapers, script after script after script... each day. "I read all the time," I told her. And then my daughter -- as only she can do -- hit me with the blunt facts. She said, "You have no imagination anymore. You need something to be able to transport you to another land. How come adults have no imagination?"

I didn't have an answer.

The genesis of the conversation actually came a couple of days earlier. She drew the most beautiful picture with flowers and colors and rays of light... and I couldn't remember the last time I drew a picture. I used to draw planets and freeways and cars and dinosaurs. So I sat there and wondered when the last time was that I had drawn a picture. I couldn't. Seriously, do you remember the last time you drew a picture unless it was helping your kids complete an assignment for school? The same went for books. I remember loving to read certain books when I was a kid: Choose Your Own Adventures, Encyclopedia Brown, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. So I sat there and wondered when the last time was that I read a really good fiction book. I couldn't.

Is it true? Adults have no imagination anymore? Is it just me?

So I picked up a piece of paper. I grabbed the kids' markers. And I started to draw. I wanted to see if I still had an imagination. I drew a cup of coffee. Then I drew a dinosaur with the little T-Rex arms, although it looked more like a dragon. I thought it would be funny if he had his huge dino-size cup of coffee and his little T-Rex arms and couldn't drink his cup of coffee. And that's why he's so mad and threatening to stomp the Starbucks as all the customers look on in shock. My kids were confused. Why was dad drawing? I told them I wanted to see if I still had an imagination. My little 6-year-old girl pointed out that the people needed hair and added the brown hair. I added the name. I named my creation. My 8-year-old told me it looked "cool" and then she challenged me to a drawing contest. I retired my markers and respectfully declined. It wasn't bad for an old guy with no imagination. It brought me right back to the doodles when we were kids... when you didn't have a care in the world and could create any new world you wished for. The drawing made me happy. And then my kids started drawing. And we drew together. Now I'm thinking about reading a good book.

Maybe us busy parents really CAN still carve out some time for make believe... some time to leave the bills and carpools and busy lives we lead for just a few moments. Maybe our imagination isn't dead. We just need to peel back the layers.

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