Stepping outside to check on my 10-year-old daughter and her best friend at play, I over-hear their dialogue:
“No…here… you take the map!”
“No… You take it, and don’t let it fall into the ocean!”
They seem to be passing a notebook with a map on it to each other, back-and-forth. They’re on a dry grassy knoll in front of our apartment building, with two Disney princess tents, a small pink one and a larger purple one, set up for them to cross between. They obviously seem to be on a wild voyage to a new world, playfully arguing over who’s navigating the trip. I smile to myself as I walk back inside, feeling as if I’ve done something right in my parenting skills. Knowing my daughter has an imagination and still utilizes it at 10 years old, fills me with pride. As a writer, singer, and all around creative person, I have always had to use my imagination. My love for books and reading always enthralled me because it allowed me to visit new lands, meet new people, and experience things I would not otherwise experience in reality; not to mention that I could even time travel!!! When a child uses their imagination, the possibilities are endless!
Every child is instilled with an imagination; whether it is nurtured positively and creatively, is something else entirely. Sometimes, it is not nurtured at all, or even stifled; neither of which is developmentally productive for a child. It is a huge detriment to a child who is not encouraged to “think outside the box,” so-to-speak. Parents who do not foster creativity or imagination in their children will never reap the end rewards. Imagination is crucial to creativity and growth. Unfortunately, many children in this day in age do not know how to use the imagination God gave them, due to the fact they are constantly distracted with video games, the computer, phones, etc. While video games can encourage creative play, it also depend on the video game parents allow their children to play. The violent and graphic content of today’s games are in no way a positive reinforcement of imagination. Children and even teens, who should know better, lose grip with reality when playing these games, and as we see time-and-time again in the news, end up taking the game into a real-life setting where people are mortally wounded. Who can we really hold accountable for this? The parents? The children? The game designers? The retailers? WHO??
As parents, we need to take responsibility for our child(ren)’s well-being! Allowing their creativity and imaginations to be used productively and positively; to make a difference in the world, is what we want for them!! We will all be better off! They need to break off from technology every once in a while and get lost in a book, write in a journal, draw, color, sing, dance, or even just play with a friend. Two minds are better than one, three or more is even better. Creativity can be sparked and is contagious! Do not be afraid to listen in or ask to see what they write or draw. Give them positive, but honest critique. Do not berate them or put them down for doing something different than the norm. So what if their sky is pink, and not blue? Who’s to say that’s not their vision of a sunrise or sunset! Let them be who they are, respect them for their natural talents and abilities, and hone in on what their passions are! That is what will lead them to THEIR success!!