Every time we see the high jump at the Olympic or World games we see a tall long legged athlete perform a form of visualisation.
The legs twitch. The body curves. The athlete starts talking aloud.
Suddenly the arms are raised over the head, the hands are clapped and the athlete bursts into a whirl of action.
The athlete has built a mental picture of a task executed and completed with the desired successful outcome. (He or she jumped over the bar!)
If the high jumper fails then there is a small rueful smile, a slight wave to the watching faithful, followed by a brisk walk back to the tracksuit.
We know that some children day dream – and this comes out in stories over and over again.
Applause for a daring or brilliant performance.
Saving someone, through a rescue or a brave act.
Living happily ever after.
It looks as if we need to add variations of around a fourth type of day dream:
The Child’s Eleven Plus Day Dream
This is where the Eleven Plus child learns to visualise the examination room, builds a picture of reading the instructions carefully, answers a raft of questions correctly, passes the examination and earns the undying love and gratitude of the parents.
The Day Dream of Eleven Plus Parents
A child runs out of school, throws arms around the parent, sobs: “Thank you for everything you have done. Now that I have passed my Eleven Plus I promise that I will love you for ever, never argue with you again, tidy my room and only text my friends on weekends - after I have done my homework.”
If parents see their child staring into space – apparently day dreaming and doing nothing at all – it may be that they are simply trying, like the high jumper mentioned earlier, to visualise success.
If you suddenly see your child dashing over to the nearest rose bush and begin sniffing loudly, you may be simply seeing the seeds of a deeper investigation into the: “Sweet smell of success.”