Stimulation of imagination through playingâ€”particularly outdoors in the woods, fields and streamsâ€”is something that I intensely recall.
Count me as a strong proponent of "unstructured play" by children, i.e., letting them explore their surroundings by themselves.
I have also been fortunate in my career to collaborate with many talented colleagues, including the students and postdocs in my group.
Your question also reminds me of a story I heard of a well-known choreographer, and her very brief proposal for funding from an endowment for the arts: "I don't write proposals, I choreograph dances." As I heard the story, she was awarded a significant grant award based on this one sentence proposal.
My mother recalls that I used to 'insist' that certain classical music (such as the music for the ballets by Tchaikovsky and music by Stravinsky) be played for me on the record player when I was a toddler, and music and dance have always been a great inspiration.
Learning Latin dance (salsa, meringue, etc.) was a revelation, and I thank the Puerto Rican and Colombian ladies who taught me; I'm a club dancer, not a ballroom dancer.
I suppose for many children, and certainly for me, there was also the strong element of fantasyâ€”comic books, Jules Verne's books, science fiction, and imagining amazing and wonderful things.
So Spiderman, Superman, and Captain Nemo were strong childhood influences!
Twain said: "It is the responsibility of every American to love their country.
The government is another matter." In the past few years I have been deeply inspired by those who directly confronted or are confronting the forces of darkness in the 1900s and now: Martin Luther King, Jr., David Ray Griffin, Peter Dale Scott, Pat Tillman's father and mother, William F.