Growing up on a farm as a kid meant hard work and chores that had to be done. If you didn’t get the wood chopped you couldn’t cook or heat water for baths. It was hard to be a kid. Kids like to play. I remember complaining to my father about working all the time and that I had no toys to play with when I did have free time. Daddy just smiled and said use your imagination. You can go anywhere or do anything if you can imagine it.

I found out that when I chopped wood I would imagine that I was building a great fort that would protect my family. I was a big Childcraft reader and imagined many possibilities of what I could be in the future, a captain of a sailing ship, an adventurer exploring the deepest jungles of the Amazon. The future seemed to be filled with endless possibilities.

I asked my Daddy if I could really do those things. Was it truly possible? Daddy sat me down on the woodpile and said, son you have to learn, you have to prepare the way in your mind. You have to develop a sense of believing, of seeing yourself doing it. Make the needed preparations just like when you chop extra wood preparing for the winter. It was a lot to think about as a kid but I did imagine the possibilities.

A kid has simple needs and I started to imagine having a bike. I could see it in my mind. A red bike from Sears with silver spokes. I could feel the breeze on my face as if I were riding it that very moment. I could hear the sound of the tires racing across the wooden bridge. Gathering my courage I asked my Daddy if I could have a bike. I said I can imagine it. I can see me riding it.

Daddy hung his head and I knew I had made him feel bad. I understood that you didn’t have money on a farm until the harvest. I pondered my situation while chopping wood. I came up with 100 different ways that I could get that bike. At the end of the day I took the few coins Daddy gave me for doing my work into my room. I had an old tin box that sadly held $1.50.

It was Sunday and I was fishing at the creek. I saw a big Pepsi truck coming down the dusty dirt road. It was my uncle and I knew he was coming to see us. The bridge was a small plank bridge and very narrow. As he came over that bridge the double back tires were rolling toward the very edge of the planks. There was a loud cracking noise and the truck leaned toward the creek. Crate after crate of Pepsi went crashing into the creek. The truck stopped dead on the bridge. Most of one whole side was now lying in the bottom of the creek.

Daddy towed him out of the creek with the tractor and all I heard was that my uncle was in big trouble. I watched him disappear down the road leaving hundreds of Pepsi bottles. As I sat on the bridge and I imagined all of the Pepsi I could drink. I then remembered a story at school about a boy and a lemonade stand and my imagination went into overdrive. I told my Daddy that I was going to get that bike. Daddy just smiles as if reading my thoughts.

Now all I needed was a stand and a big sign. Daddy asked me what I had in mind. I said that I wanted a stand beside the road to sell Pepsi Colas. He told me to draw it out and come up with a way to get all the drinks out of the creek and how did I plan to keep them cold. Lastly, he asked how I planned to do that and all my chores.

At that time Pepsi sold for a dime. Since I got mine for free I charged a nickel. Daddy built me a stand and we got a galvanized tub for ice. We put the stand beside the road near the creek and used rakes to get the Pepsi out of the creek bed.

I got up early every morning to get my work done and then I sat by the road. Sundays after church were the best time as folks took Sunday drives. Mom made me some pie to sell by the slice and we added corn and watermelons. I was working on my third tin box for the coins and bills I earned.

I got that bike at the end of the season and I had my stand for two years after that until we moved to town. I told my Daddy that I really did use my imagination.

Point of View:

If you really want to accomplish something you have to imagine it. You have to imagine how you will do it. You have to imagine what success looks like. Imagination is a gift that we are all born with. It is a tool we can use to envision what the future may hold. When we work with a team we engage in ideas, we plan, we strategize, and we talk about what if and why not. In truth, we can imagine dynamic change, innovation, creative engagement, and listening. We have a vision of where we want to go and what success looks like. It all started with our childhood gift of imagination.

Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
I have 40 years of Retail Management experience. I am the person they send in to fix things. Call it a Store Focus Specialist, a Smoke Jumper, an Outlaw. I can work within the system or go outside the box when needed. I love walking into chaos and bringing order. I am not a key word person and my education came from mentors not schools. I believe that everything that we do starts with hiring the right people. Driving sales, merchandising, customer service and metrics are just keywords until you hire the right people. My top talents are Recruiting, hiring, training, associate development, and going into a focus store and turning it around. Most importantly I believe in people and that if you teach them, develop them and believe in them they will do far more than they thought possible.


  1. Beautiful story, Larry! Thank you for sharing this one! Your story reminds me of Einstein’s quote that Imagination is more important than knowledge. Imagination can take us places no one else may have thought to go.

  2. Now that was a terrific story, Larry! I can almost see the wheels turning in your young head, with all those Pepsi bottles just begging to be sold … good for you, and good for your dad to have instilled in you the idea of imagining where you could go and how you could get there!

    Now, why does Dr. Seuss suddenly come to mind? :-)

  3. Larry, loved reading great truths from your anecdotal experiences.
    This reminded me of two of the greatest quotes that has influenced me in my life – the first was by Walt Disney “ ALL your dreams can come true IF only you have the courage to pursue it.”

    The second was by Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

    I love your use of the word “Imagination”. Imagination makes it possible to experience a whole world inside the mind. It gives the ability to look at any situation from a different point of view, and to mentally explore the past and the future. It is not limited only to seeing pictures in the mind. It includes all the five senses and the feelings. One can imagine a sound, taste, smell, a physical sensation or a feeling or emotion. For some people it is easier to see mental pictures, others find it easier to imagine a feeling, and some are more comfortable imagining the sensation of one of the five senses.

    Understanding, how to use our imagination correctly, and putting this knowledge into practice, for our own and others’ benefit, will put us on the golden path to success, satisfaction and happiness.

  4. Larry, beautifully written. Such a pleasure to read. I read an article recently that children, when tested, scored in the “genius” level for creativity. Goes to show…if we can trust our childlike imagination again what might be gained.

  5. I feel imagination is the glue that connects people together. Many escape into stories, movies, and youtube videos because they crave imagination — such as two cats acting out a typical two player fighting game. Never knew cats could throw fireballs.

    We have be so entrenched in getting our imagination from non-people sources, we forget that people have imagination too. All you need to do is make sure a person opens up and feels safe to be imaginative. Then many benefits come out of that — powerful leadership, innovation, and high levels of job satisfaction.

    Imagination is greatly underrated!



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