Where Do Ideas Come From?

"That very night in Max's room a forest grew and grew and grew until his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around." Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are.

Children's books are subtle.  I believe that each of us is born with an inherent creativity  and longing to make a contribution to our world.  But often, those around us—parents, teachers, businesses, society—with good meaning, conspire to rid us of this creativity. Adults seem all to eager to turn children into productive, serious, on-track-grown ups.  But, authors of childrens' books have a trick up their sleeve. They embed ideas into wonderful stories; stories that as children,  we ask for over and over again.  Marice Sendek is such an author.  Sendak is the kind of author that won't let children forget what they inherently know. 

Take the story of Max in Where the Wild Things Are.  Here we have a young boy willing to go against the norm, to defy reality.  He is willing to grow his own reality based on his dreams and visions. Max escapes the wrath of his mother, tames an entire world of wild things, and arrives back to a loving home.  Now jump to someone like Judy Wicks, a social entrepreneur who as a restaurateur and entrepreneur decided to grow her own reality... to create an ecosystem  foreign to the norm, and yet very practical. After years of hearing that her ideas would not work and being scolded as Max was, she was named one of Inc. Magazine's 25 most fascinating entrepreneurs in 2004 "because she's put in place more progressive business practices per square foot than any other entrepreneur."  Judy thought very local about where the food for her restaurant came from.  She asks new questions and was persistent ... her ideas grew and grew until they were all around her. Other wild ones joined her efforts and together they galumphed a new reality into being. Today, the BALLE network spreads, amplifies, and gives birth to new forms of local living economies. Recently, when working with the Sebastopol community, I learned just how intently the network is permeating the Northern California regional economics. 

 Night after night, moms and dads read to their children about Max and his wild things—ideas outside the norm.  Each night with a good night kiss and a "sleep well," children fall asleep to remember that it is up to them to tame the wild things and to create new realities.  And then to quietly reappear within the norm ("and into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him") until he could once again escape, in time bringing back a new reality from within a new context. A new world in the becoming...

What books live inside you to provide scaffolding for your dreams and visions?