As a special Easter surprise, my wife and I took our boys to see the new 3D version of Disney’s new animation feature Meet the Robinsons. Being an inspired admirer of the life and story of Walt Disney himself and a self-proclaimed Walt Disney-World aficionado, it was wonderful to finally see a Disney animated film that rekindles and reawakens Walt’s original spirit, vision and philosophy in such an intimate way. Aside from beginning the film with images of one of Walt’s first rudimentary motion cartoons Steamboat Willie (1928), Meet the Robinsons is poignantly concluded with the following quote from Walt himself:
Keep moving forward
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
– Walt Disney
(experience my art and purpose at www.mycreativepurpose.wordpress.com)
Meet the Robinsons is a touching story about an imaginatively energetic young orphan boy who faces repeated failures in his inventions, most notably his device which would enable him to travel into his memory to catch a glimpse of his mother the night she dropped him off at the orphanage. I don’t want to give anything away, but the movie explores how visionary imagination can serve as precious captial in overcoming adversity and failure.
By now you may be wondering from the title of this post how Walt and Meet the Robinsons apply to Naperville’s future. My point is rooted in the quote above which is used as a central theme in the film which is “Keep Moving Forward”.
I often hear the stories from native Napervillians of our community’s transformation from a quiet little town into the vibrant city it has grown into today. Along the Riverwalk, I always like to pause and look at the new “Fathers of the Riverwalk” statues which feature former Naperville mayor Chet Rybicki and Jim Moser, the original visionaries who dreamed of a Riverwalk which would ultimately save a dying downtown. To me, both the statues and Riverwalk embodies Walt Disney-style imagination which kept Naperville “moving forward” back in 1981 as the city celebrated its 150th birthday poised at an important crossroad in local history.
Today, there is much talk within the community of concern over Naperville’s future as many believe we are nearing another crossroads. Many community leaders, such as the Naperville Chamber of Commerce with its Chamber 2020 initiative, are pro-actively looking deeply into the short-term and long-term issues and needs impacting the community.
The complementary partnership between business leaders, city officials, community organizations, the media and residents alike play a big role in bringing the “Naperville Experience” to life each and every day. The vision for our community’s future must remain strong with shared devotion and responsibility as we come together to construct imaginative plans for the future which will continue to maintain the experience of Naperville as a unique destination in which to work, play and live.
As a community, the only way we will lose our unique character is through a loss of imagination, spirit and partnership by complacency and inaction. When in doubt, we need only look to the strong spirit residing throughout Naper Settlement, the imaginative vision of the Fathers of the Riverwalk or the authentic architecture of downtown in applying Walt Disney’s own words in that we must “keep moving forward” with vision, creativity and imagination. We must open new doors and engage in new ideas allowing curiosity and imagination to lead our way. Finally, we must learn from rather than dwell upon mistakes.