The Sunday before Martin Luther King Day, our children gathered together for Social Action Sunday; a time when we learn together about our UU commitment to justice through worship, crafts, and community outreach projects. On this particular Sunday, we imagined together how listening, really listening, to stories of injustice experienced by others might change each of us and the world.
As we worked, I guided the kids through a meditation, asking them to imagine their hearts and minds opening, breathing, relaxing, as they prepared to listen with their whole, entire bodies. I asked them to imagine their hearts as a growing patchwork of stories shared by others; stories that have the potential to change the way we see the world even though we did not experience them ourselves.
It is not uncommon to ask our children to use their imaginations as we engage them in the work of growing and serving. We use our imaginations as we explore different worlds and intangible ideas during guided meditations, we use our imaginations when we ask the kids to think about what a safe and fun classroom for all might look like as they build their classroom covenants, and we ask them to imagine what a more loving, peaceful world might look like and to imagine their gifts bringing more light into our world.
“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore, the foundation of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.” -JK Rowling
Imagination is, indeed, a powerful tool of transformation and growth; it allows us to transport ourselves to new worlds and experiences, and lowers the threshold into sometimes difficult conversations and changes of the heart. It is the work, not just of children, but of all who are on the journey of transformation, to wonder, to listen and to imagine.