Last week on Twitter I came across a very sad and convicting picture of the comic strip characters Calvin and Hobbes. For those who are not familiar with this comic, it is a very endearing cartoon focused on a little boy and his world of adventures with his imaginary best friend: a beloved stuffed tiger. According to this picture, in today’s culture of electronic devices, Calvin's imaginative world would never have come to life.
As a fan of Calvin and Hobbes this was a horrifying picture. All of the fun and escapades Calvin imagined cease to exist - a sad result of Calvin playing video games all day. As a parent the picture reminded me of the need to be proactive and intentional in cultivating and encouraging my kids' imagination.
Here a few thoughts on how we can help imaginations thrive:
- Read to your kids. And have them read to you! Introducing your children to new places and characters is great kindling for the imagination. Chronicles of Narnia, Wingfeather Saga and Little House on the Prairie are good if you are looking for a place to start.
- Visit Zoos or Museums. This may be difficult for those who don’t live close to a zoo or museum. Find time to go.....and broaden your child’s world to new ideas and animals.
- Engage in the arts. Music and visual arts are great ways for kids and adults to stretch their imagination. When my kids play with toys it is fun to hear them add background music to what they are doing!
- Encourage them to figure out what they love to do, and then find a way to help them do it! Play games with them, take them outside, enter into their imaginative world. Ask them why they enjoy the games they play and encourage them to dream.
Why does imagination even matter?
- We are created in God’s image and He is a creator.
- We are to have faith. A strong imagination helps strengthen our faith.
- Several times when Christ taught he engaged people’s imagination. He used parables and fictional stories to help people think deeply and engage the heart.
- A strong strong imagination invites more enjoyment to life.
What thoughts do you have about cultivating a child's imagination? Leave a comment below.