One day while hiking with my kids, I had left a water bottle at the top of the trail. After two days, I asked the boys to come back up with me to retrieve it. My youngest son was not too keen on this idea so I immediately knew I had to improvise if this was going to go well at all.
As my older son Jackson was busy handing out home-made Harry Potter wands for each of us to use, I was struck with inspiration. With a twist of the wand (and a “whooshing” sound effect), we were instantly zapped into another world… an alternate universe. At once, we began the journey to the top of the trail that was fraught with danger in quest of the vessel that contained the spells needed to get back home.
Along the way, we managed to fight off a three-headed dog, shield ourselves from a ferocious mudslide, fend off a four-armed, fanged squirrel and invisibly avert a troll hiding in the bush. Success was sweet, and after fighting the clock to get back just in time to cast the spell that would bring us back to our world, these sorcerers enjoyed a healthy snack.
I learned a valuable lesson today: Inserting FUN into an otherwise potentially mundane situation completely changes the context and inspires life. I had more fun on that trail than I have in some time, seriously connected with my kids on THEIR level, one that they truly appreciate and became inspired to share that experience with others. These are the things that I value the most in life and they were immediately unleashed by simply becoming willing in that moment to PLAY. Thank you Harry Potter.