10/21/2013 05:54 pm ET Updated Dec 21, 2013

Daydreaming: A Skill to Help Us Build Our Dreams

I loved Carolyn Gregoire's blog on daydreaming and her summary of Scott Barry Kaufman's book, Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, giving us a new definition of intelligence that factors in our deepest dreams and desires.

Discovering our deepest dreams and desires puts the emphasis on the development of our inner, more sub-conscious self, which we come to know through such tools as daydreaming, insight, intuition and ultimately, conscience.

Daydreaming is our primary means to keep this inward focus. To be effective, I believe it needs practice that must begin in childhood with imagination.

As children, our parents control our lives, but we control our imagination. It becomes part of our world as a child. Our sense of integrity and self-confidence may ultimately depend on how we handle our developing perceptions and ideas.

I was an addictive daydreamer as a kid, and my imagination made me very gullible. I remember the day at the beach when my brother and sister set up a ruse with friends to dig for buried treasure, with me as the target.

During the whole time, I thought it was a joke on me, until we finally found a map that located the treasure out in the ocean. Then everyone gave up the game, but the next morning at breakfast, I explained to the family how we could hire a steam shovel, build a wall and pay for it with the treasure!

Needless to say, people seldom took me seriously as a kid. I had more imagination and less reality in my perspective on life, which put me out of step with school -- and my stepfather's extensive discipline. (Today, I'm thankful for his relentless questions that led me to finally understand math and learn I could actually think.)

Thanks to the GI Bill, I decided to go to college, from which I barely graduated. I went into business to become rich and famous, but soon discovered I lacked the motivation. My inner self was telling me I was a teacher. To soothe my ego, bruised by not becoming rich and famous, I was determined to make a difference in the lives of my students.

In spite of being a poor student and athlete in college, I loved and excelled at teaching and coaching, thanks largely to my insight into kids and my knack for effective discipline, learned from my step-father. I worked hard, gained an MA in mathematics, attended coaching clinics and coached winning seasons. Most surprising was the strength I found in my intuition.

On New Year's Eve in 1962, I suffered a crisis of conscience. I realized I was part of an educational system that was failing to effectively prepare kids for life. So, I made a commitment to find a better way.

I achieved a headmastership, and introduced a new program focused on the unique potential and character of each student. I was encouraged by my success, but soon recognized I was envisioning change beyond what the trustees would accept. Rather than compromise my vision, I resigned after a year.

I knew my only recourse was to found a new school. I was able to ignore the realities of little money or experience and ended up turning the majestic Hyde estate in Bath, Maine on 145 acres into Hyde School.

Today, there is a network of seven Hyde private and public schools founded on the premise: "Every individual is gifted with a unique potential that defines a destiny." This inward goal is supported by a character curriculum, specifically focused on curiosity, courage, concern, leadership and integrity, along with preparation for college.

Since the start of Hyde more than four decades ago, we've discovered a lot of insight into the development of character and unique potential. We understand the important role of intuition in helping parents and families as well as students.

We are all born with a spirit. Our imagination is critical to expressing that spirit, and daydreaming fuels our imagination. We need parents to prepare us to deal with reality, and also to encourage our imagination.

Finally, it is up to us to ensure our imagination becomes an integral part of our own reality. If we do, we will be surprised by the power of our insight, intuition and ultimately -- conscience. And daydreaming can help set all this in motion.