One morning the Navigator said something to that was amazing and a little poignant. We were getting ready for breakfast and he came up and hugged me tightly, out of the blue.
I asked him what was going on and he said “I was thinking about when you and dad are dead and buried, and I am old and frail and living in this house by myself.”
There was so much in that statement I didn’t even know where to begin. So I said the first thing that came to mind:
“What makes you think you will be by yourself? How do you know you won’t be married and have kids, and even grandkids?”
He acknowledged that possibility and then rapidly changed the subject to something else, and his reflections were for the moment forgotten.
Still … whoa. While I hated that he was worried about being alone, I also loved that he was thinking about his future. There is nothing more abstract, or more scary, than the future and it takes courage to think about it and envision it.
Later we talked about how the unknown can be the scariest thing – like being in darkness – and how the future is rarely what we imagine it will be like, both good and bad.
With this topic, as with many important topics we teach the Navigator, I frequently used the television shows we watched to help reinforce lessons we he had recently learned.
In this case, it was Doctor Who that lent a hand.
Doctor Who was a great show that allowed the Navigator to more deeply understand multiple concepts; about creativity, story-telling, and about the human condition.
Like many science fiction shows, Doctor Who’s stories are mostly reflections of the human condition, what it means to be us.
We could use the show to talk about what it meant to be brave but still fear being alone, how you can be wise and experienced and still have regrets, how to take joy from every day, while still feeling loss, and about how you can be an honorable person and still make mistakes.
It was also a show that impacted him enough for him to weave it in with his other interests, even to the point of imitating the Doctor.
To this day, the Doctor is the only human being the Navigator has role-played.
Genius comes from taking things you love about your interests and crafting a amalgam of those elements, creating something new and brilliant.
It also comes from building on the lessons learned in gaining those interests and crafting those elements together
I believe he is on that road in a good way.
The road to his future.