And the army has to get the dragon and the dragon has to get the army and whoever climbs up the rainbow and slides down the fastest gets the golden trophy. – Huhana, four.

Dear Huhana and Kāhu o te Rangi,

Once upon a night, someone you know wrestled control of their life back from an addiction too many of us struggle against. They had spent two and half months finally winning that fight. The prizegiving room cried when they talked about the journey they’d been on. The seats shook with applause when they were given their certificates and we reflected their courage and strength with a haka, telling them we understood how hard those months had been.

A few months before that night, that person couldn’t have imagined being where they were. They’d reached the decision that they couldn’t go further and hope didn’t exist.

Imagination isn’t just for writing stories that don’t come true.
It’s for hope. It’s for re-setting of realities that we can sometimes become stuck in. It’s for imagining those barriers – which you will run into – aren’t there. Imagination is for picturing a better tomorrow than whatever shitty today you might be going through, then believing it with enough force to run across whatever divide there is between now and then. It’s for knowing your situation and circumstances but believing you can live something better.

The man (or wāhine) who thinks he can, and the man (or wāhine) who thinks he can’t, are both right. 

Confucius

I hope you both grow with hope.
I hope you exercise your imagination and understand how powerful those creative, reality shifting thoughts can be.
I hope you never stop fabricating dragons and armies and rainbows and gold. I hope you when you’re older you imagine a crazy, amazing world and believe it into existence. That’s what we saw happen that night for a strong, beautiful person like you. They pictured a world where hope did exist, where they were strong enough to go further.

Imagination isn’t just important for reminding yourself what’s possible when things are tough. It’s the backbone of creative problem solving, that’s a skill everyone appreciates; CEOs, Chairwomen, Pizza delivery technicians, artists. So don’t be embarrassed if you’re a daydreamer – it’s a real-world skill for today’s reality too.

Be creative, imagine, dream. Flex your inventive muscles. Be proud of them. Practice creating worlds, weather, and realities you want for yourself. Because when the sky is dark and the night is cold, the better you can imagine the sun’s warmth on your skin, the quicker that night will pass.

Believing there is something better than now is the first step in making it so. Believing you can make it there is the next.

Love you,
Dad

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