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Back in play with youth – imagine

If there's one silver lining to what I've experienced during the whole Covid-19 situation, it's been to see what some people have come up with to ease the boredom of quarantine and having to stay home so much to do their part in trying to keep the damn virus at bay.

And I'm almost scared to say it out loud, let alone write it, but it's been darn refreshing to see so many kids and youth using their imaginations again.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting the squeals of youthful innocence playing flashlight tag outside of my window anytime soon, but maybe there are limits as to how many uninterrupted hours of video gaming or web surfing some of them can actually endure.

It was also encouraging to see posts on social media of families playing board games and being involved in all sorts of indoor activities together to wile away the hours.

In fact, each and every photo of families doing things together during these most trying of times was touching to this old hack in its own way, or they brought back memories of a time when my own mom and dad still walked this Earth with me, but it was those that illustrated just how powerful and creative a young mind's imagination can truly be that really struck home.

At first take, one would think the world of video games would serve to stimulate imaginations but, more often than not, the direct opposite seems to be true.

Kids get so locked into defeating the game they're playing in the shortest amount of time possible that they barely seem to notice all those mind-numbing, super-incredible, almost-perfectly-detailed, high-definition graphics emitting from the screen they're viewing. Instead, they become unwitting slaves to game patterns and the repetition of successful actions to advance their gaming cause.

Even in sports gaming one often notices the whole game often revolves around one player's (mostly the more talented player in the particular game) ability to initiate a successful team, or individual character action resulting in a goal, serve point, run, touchdown or pinfall and their opponent’s ability to counter the move.

In fact, what I find most humorous about that particular element of sports video gaming is that, in many cases, the only time that scenario effectively changes for any period of time is when the executor of the successful action gets bored with his or her own success and deviates from their normal course of action.

Even the most detailed of world-building, quest-accomplishing or role-playing games seem to stifle creativity and curiosity with the reliance on the trial-and-error approach.

And, of course, a game's very rules limits a player's ability to free their imagination and leave the boundaries of inevitability far behind in their console's dust.

The imagination is such a wonderful ability to be seen activated with its magical powers put on full display – the user of which being lost in the reality of their own imagination and the observer fascinated by the joy in seeing one so young do so – as can be evidenced by a non-playing adult's ability to watch video gaming for 10 minutes, yet spend an entire afternoon “having tea” with a daughter or granddaughter.

While even I'm not optimistic enough to imagine a rebirth of its use due to the Covid-19 challenge, I am hopeful some of those spreading their imaginary wings at the moment might continue to fly over a world of their own creation when things return to normal.

Imagine – one song we know dedicated to the possibilities.

Food for thought.