by Dave Markwell

“Hey, Dad! Check this out!!” my thirteen year old son, Aden, bellowed. Based on a rather dubious history with his exclamations, I am rarely quick to respond to these requests, because they usually result in me having to clean something up. This day, I was pleasantly surprised.

As I cautiously opened his bedroom door, he was sitting at his desk with a notebook. “So, I was thinking…” He said. Again, based on my experience with him saying these words, I was prepared for him to ask me to do something I didn’t want to do or spend money I didn’t want to spend. Refreshingly, neither of these things happened.

“I want to build an electro-magnetic engine.” He stated. “Sounds good” was my response as I began to slowly back out of his rat-cave. “Here, look.” He said, as he passed me his notebook, drawing me back into his filthy lair. He had detailed a complete materials list and a rough schematic about how it could be done. I sat with him and we discussed how viable the project might be. We determined that it was worthy of further exploration. So, that’s what we’re doing: exploring.

While I know less-than-jack-sh#t about how to build this thing, I like the idea of it. And, more importantly, I like that my son is THINKING about ideas like this. He is exploring the great, big potential of this world and thinking and trying to make something happen. He is inventing possibilities and inspiring himself to keep thinking. This makes me, as a dad, very happy and proud.

My daughter celebrated her ninth birthday last week. One of her presents was a grab-bag full of different fabrics and textiles. She is dreaming of her own handbag line. I am currently converting our storage room into a usable space for, among other things, a workspace for her to do her thing. She doodles and makes drawings and questions different materials and designs and thinks. Again, her big ideas live with her and inspire her and make her move.

The value of a big idea is immense. It has the power to transform us; to make us better; to change us and the world. Big ideas have moved mountains and shaped lives. This is pretty awesome.

Through my forty-three years on this planet, I have had lots of big ideas, dreams which have made me happy and given me hope. While some have worked, many have not. But the value of a big idea is not always about whether it works or not. Big ideas always succeed in making us come alive. They make us feel good and worthy and capable. And this is good.

With this in mind, I will always support and encourage any hair-brained, half-cocked, goofy, wild, insane, impossibly huge ideas that shoot across my brow or out of my kids’ mouths or anyone else’s for that matter. These ideas make the world better and make people better.

Everything great that we have once began as someone’s dream. This basic truth validates the fantastic day-dreamer, the wanderer and the seeker. And, while it is nice to know that, once in a wonderful while, dreams really do come true, their true beauty lies in the hopeful comfort and recognition that we are made truly special simply by thinking them.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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