In October we took a group of kids in grades 3-6 out of the mundane world and into the world of their imaginations. For one week they became hobbits on the trail of adventure. In reality they were still kids who have to ask permission from adults to go to the bathroom but in their imaginations they were warriors who could right wrongs and bring back prizes of great value. Feeling the threat, returning with the prize, was more than a game, it had reality because it was experienced by the group of friends. They shared a common experience and spoke the same language that brought them closer together.
The world seems to be full of danger when you are alone.
All kids have imaginations. Since all kids like to play together why do we go to such lengths to create a fantasy world for them to play in? The reason is that the more real the experience becomes the more they get to understand themselves and each other. The participants left the door of the Game Loft as kids and returned as heroes. They shared anticipation, fear, determination, courage, and respect. They bonded with each other over a common understanding and they included us in the story. For a time we were together united against a common enemy, proud of our solidarity, and brave in the face of overwhelming odds.
True friends share the burdens of life.
All of this is an investment. We invest our time and creativity to create a vibrant world for kids. We share the things that are important to us and to them. This sharing breaks down the walls that exist between adults and kids, hobbits and humans, and the “what is” from the “what might be”. The friendships that are created enrich everyone in the group. This investment comes at a big cost in time, dollars, and imagination. We are rewarded, however, with the memories and the mutual respect that would have been impossible otherwise.
“A person is only complete when he has a friend to understand him, to share all his passions and sorrows with, and to stand by throughout his life.” Nishan Panwar