My baby girl is a week shy of being four. She's at the age where so many of her statements are just adorable. Things that make you smile while she nods her head and her eyes widen big emphasizing a story.
She has been using this seeming contradictory adjective to describe things lately, "Little- Big".
She's 'little- big' and so are many things she likes. This makes me laugh every time. Yes, she's a little girl with a big personality.
It reminds me of this quote I recently read by Paul Kelly, "From little things big things grow."
This quote is applicable to all of life, but it really related to the thoughts my girls and I read this past weekend.
Sometimes when I get library books I try to go for themes. Of course there always a few straggling off topic books but often times I will try to have the books relate to one another. Three books we read this week talked about ideas and two of them more especially about one curious boy turned prolific inventor Thomas A. Edison.
Have you ever studied Edison?
I remember being a child and watching a biographical black and white movie about Edison's life. I can picture some scenes from this movie. Edison taking naps when staying up around the clock tending to a project, an experiment, working on a deadline.
I remember the excitement when he "turned on all the lights" in a particular area of New York City and a scene from Menlo Park. His laboratory.
I had forgotten so much of this movie, but these books were filled with trivia and details of Edison's amazing story.
It amazed me that Thomas only had a few months of formal education. His mother dissatisfied with his teacher who insulted Thomas's intelligence decided to educate Thomas herself. She allowed his experiments and Thomas voraciously read. One book listed his proclivity to read entire shelves of library books. He loved to learn.
Thomas's intelligence and curiosity was nurtured by his mother who he described, "the most enthusiastic champion a boy ever had."
Thomas' story is incredible which you know if you have ever read about it. He went on to patent 1,093 inventions. Without Edison we wouldn't hold an iPod and listen to music (He invented the phonograph), we wouldn't have vending machines, the incandescent light bulb, movies, cement, electric power grid, x rays (fluoroscope), and so many more things.
Edison was quoted to say of his work, "I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun." Edison was well known to work around the clock with little sleep. Yet it was enjoyable to him and he was not put off by failure. He said, "I know several thousand things that won't work."
That's an indefatigable spirit fueled by a love for figuring things out and creating something new, something unseen to others, but alive in his mind. His ideas realized in real life.
His ideas had to start somewhere. In his mind, his heart, and fueled by all of the things he studied and was interested in.
That leads me to the book my girls and I read three times this weekend .
What Do You Do With An Idea?
This book is clever. A child discusses his idea, from conception through it's formation, nurturing, through discouraging times where the child almost gives up on his idea due to the criticism of others and yet he decides to hang onto this idea.
"I worried what others would think. What would people say about my idea?" He asks.
He describes the joy of his idea with these words, "But there was something magical about my idea. I had to admit, I felt better and happier when it was around."
My favorite lines in the book comes after the boy decides he will hang onto his idea, "But then I realized, what do they know? This is my idea, I thought. No one knows it like I do. And it's okay if it's different, and wierd, and maybe a little crazy. I decided to protect it, to care for it. I fed it good food. I worked with it, I played with it. But most of all, I gave it my attention."
The pages turn from mostly colorless illustrations to colorful pages after the idea comes to life. The idea is finally a success and the book closes with these words, "And, then I realize what you do with an idea...You change the world."
I read this book slowly three times to my oldest girl to make sure she soaked it in. I wanted her to latch on to this. It was the perfect punctuation to our books about Thomas Edison. It was symbolic in a way of Edison and all of his individual ideas. All 1093 of them.
My oldest girl spills over with ideas. Always.
I try to foster this, but sometimes her ideas kind of wear me out. After reading about Thomas I don't want to dampen that spirit within my oldest.
The spirit of creativity that conceives an idea and gets the delight of seeing it come to real life.
It all starts with an idea, and an idea comes from what we digest mentally.
All of the things we decide to study become new tools we then create with.We get great joy from creating because we are image bearers of a creating God whose mind thought and then His words formed every plant, splash of water, and human eye we have ever seen. He gave us the joy of creating when He graced us with His image.
What about you? Do you have an idea that has been deeply embedded in your heart, blossomed in all of its vast layers within your mind, and grabs at your spirit? What is it?
What will you do with it?
Will you discard it under the scrutiny of others or will you decide instead that it is fine if no one else is passionate about it or can envision it as you can...Because after all it is your brilliantly beautiful idea... :)
I love what Emily P. Freeman says on her blog, "I’m convinced that the world is teeming with great ideas hiding in the shadows and that beautiful art is locked inside the minds and hearts of people like you." She goes on to list four reasons we neglect or give up on our art, our ideas. It's so worth the read:
This article very interesting, listing the way that imagination comes largely from what we take in and memorize.
Or maybe you are like me and don't have so many amazing ideas, maybe just a couple ideas personal to you that hover in the corners of your brain. You think and play with them some, but quickly shelve them if they seem silly or frivolous.
Or maybe you are also a mom or dad or spouse that is believing in someone else's dream or idea?
You're the dreamcatcher when someone decides to give up. You keep believing for them.
Maybe it's just a little-big. Like my youngest girl says. Something little now, like the egg shaped idea in the book. But it grows and matures over time and something quite big is one day born.
It's important to be that champion like Edison described his mother to be. We all need someone who believe in us and our interwoven ideas. So we will believe in them too. We give each other the courage to confidently create.