April 23, 2012

We Are the Dreamers of Dreams

There is something extraordinary about the Chocolate Room scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Watching the Willy Wonka film version of this story with Gene Wilder, this moment always brings the biggest grin to my face.  It is the essence of wonder and inexplicable delight.

I'm 16 days away from opening night of my own directorial interpretation of Roald Dahl's classic story.   Our moment of the big Chocolate Room reveal has come a long way and it's just about ready for an audience.  Willy Wonka stands at center stage holding either side of the curtain, and with that glimmer in his eye and knowing smirk, proclaims "The Chocolate Room," as the curtain flies open.  Wonka's voice:

Hold your breath.  Make a wish.  Count to three.
Come with me, and you'll be in a world of pure imagination.
Take a look and you'll see into your imagination.

Listening to the song Pure Imagination over and over again, I've begun to hear it in a new way and wonder, shouldn't education be like the Chocolate Room?  I believe all children deserve the opportunity to experience this kind of wonder and delight with the world around them.  The classroom, or wherever children are learning, should be a place of limitless possibilities.

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Education as a pathway to paradise?  Absolutely.  Simply look around and see the limitless potential, abilities, and dreams of the dreamers in our own classrooms.  When there are so many limitations and tests and factors beyond my control, it's certainly hard to feel like I'm viewing paradise.  Hold my breath, make a wish, count to three...

Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world?
There's nothing to it
These are powerful words, words that students need to hear again and again.  I would rank this phrase right up there with Angela Maiers' You Matter Manifesto"You are a genius and the world needs your contribution," and maybe also Ghandi's words "Be the change you want to see in the world."  These are words I tell myself, to believe it to feel it inside and out.  If I don't believe it, how can my students?  Want to change the world?  You can do it, the world needs you to do it.  There's nothing to it.  Do it.

Paradise may be within the eye of the beholder, however, I have a vision of education that fills children and adults with wonder and delight.  If we really are the music makers and the dreamers of dreams then my vision may not simply be pure imagination, but one day reality.  

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