Make Believe

Maria Amanda by Helle Gry Schaub

Maria Amanda by Helle Gry Schaub

I think back to a time when I was just a wee little boy. One of the only things I wanted to do was “play make-believe.” Sure, that sounds a little juvenile from an adult perspective. Maybe some of you are thinking, “I never played make-believe.” One way or another, you did, whether it were a tea party, inventing elaborate narratives when playing with your dolls or action figures, playing dress up, going on those pretend treasure hunts with maps that you made up, building a “fort” in the woods, etc. – you played make-believe.

Then something happened. Adults, jaded adults, got in your way. They jumped in and said, “now now, playtime is over, it’s time to work. It’s time to study and learn and be responsible.” Why did you have to do this? Why did you have to spend copious amounts of your precious childhood years learning about things that no one could possible drone on about for 45 minutes and hold anyone’s interest, like long division or skipping all of the flavorful parts of history so we can get to all of the wars? Because amassing all of this knowledge would eventually lead you to higher test scores, and opportunities for better education – that you’ll need because doing well in school means that you’ll have one of those pie-in-the-sky high-paying important jobs. Playing make-believe is a waste of time. Hit the books and study, that’s the productive thing to do.

Then what happened? Your education eventually reached its climax. Now you were qualified to go out into the world and do something. You were led to believe this was a great privileged. You had the privileged being chosen and allowed to mindlessly walk into this sterile workplace somewhere and do the same garbage busy work over and over again, all of it ultimately meaningless. Nothing of real substance gets produced in most of these places. It’s a hive of adults churned through the system and jaded, just like the adults that discouraged you from playing make-believe.

At the end of the day, once you have left your unfulfilling soul-sucking job, that you earned the privileged to be at, you go home and sit on your favorite chair. You fire up your TV, Netflix, YouTube, whatever it is. You fire it up and watch people, these people are doing something that earns them five, ten, even twenty times what you get paid to do your important, adult, responsible job. What are these people doing? They’re playing make-believe.

Maybe those naive, unjaded, irresponsible children were on to something. Perhaps you shouldn’t have stopped playing make-believe. Perhaps it is too late for you, but when you have the chance, when the time comes for you to put a stop to a child’s undying love of playing make-believe, perhaps you should just think about the path you were led down and put some of your wisdom to use. If we’re all doing unimportant work, we might as well do the fun unimportant work that pays six and seven figure incomes, and not the boring stuff that we despise doing and that allows us to just get by.

Don’t ever stop playing make-believe. The most successful people on the planet do it, and if you think I’m talking about movie and TV stars, think bigger, think about your elected officials.

One thought on “Make Believe

  1. Great article! …And this is one of the reasons why I homeschool (freedom school) my children. I worked as a teacher and school counselor before becoming a parent, so I truly see what’s going on at the schools. I earned 2 graduate degrees and two teaching credentials. Inside, I was a writer and artist. The world almost destroyed this in me, but I am strong. I could only protect the children in the schools the best I could. I always encouraged my students to follow their dreams. I thought homeschooling was crazy. Now, I think it’s crazy not to homeschool. My children are leaders and their dreams are thriving, not being killed. Common Core is a joke. The system is a mess. Teach your children to be free. Homeschool your kids. As they show you what they love to do be creative and help them find a way to make money while doing what they love to do. Remember your dreams and never stop dreaming.

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