Puff the Magic Dragon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Importance of “What If?” Thinking

It seemed, at first, like an odd coincidence. An article titled “The Dragon’s Message Still Delivers a Punch” popped up in my Facebook newsfeed this morning. Just last night I had been searching for versions of Puff the Magic Dragon, to use as background music for a presentation on pretend play I’m working on.

To me, the song has always represented the loss of imagination that, sadly, often comes when children start to school. This seems so much more pertinent now than it did when I first heard the song in the 60s. But the writer of this article frames the song more broadly: as an anthem not so much about children, or our country’s lost innocence, but rather, about our lost vision.

Without a vision, there is usually no reason to do the hard work to make change a reality. Without imagination, there is no vision. Can imagination develop without play? I don’t think so…

And there’s the problem. It is pretend play that gives children rich experience with “what if” thinking. Isn’t “what if” thinking what all of our great leaders, and scientists, and artists, and teachers have been so good at?

What if we lived in a world without racial discrimination? What if we could eliminate cancer? What if our children didn’t have to grow up in poverty? What if we understood how to develop resilience in ALL children?

What if…we let children play?

Celebrate Dr. King’s dream by imagining your own “what ifs.” And then, come up with one small action you can take to start the transformation of your “what if” into a reality. Please share your visions in the comments below! Thank you!

4 thoughts on “Puff the Magic Dragon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Importance of “What If?” Thinking

  1. Have you listened to “The Circle Game” Joni Mitchell lately? This just brought it to mind. I don’t really know why…

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Stephanie,

    When the first Arsenion Hall show aired, he had a segment called, “Things that Make You Go … Hmmmmm.” I feel that way about many of your posts. This was particularly hmmmmmrific! The video and story were inspiring and your comments perfect about using our imaginations to create opportunities for unity, future exploits, for dreaming and creating vision.

    Thank for your usual inspirations.

    – Veronika

  3. Pingback: Imagination on the Move

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