Developing The Genius Quality – Imagination
Children need to know their strengths so they’ll use them. Too many let their weaknesses rule. It can be hard when their strengths masquerade as weaknesses. Right?!
How about imagination? When your kids use it to daydream, it’s a negative. But, it’s a genius quality. It can be a great strength when controlled by good character. Dr. Tom Armstrong defines imagination as:
“To close their eyes and see.”
Imagination is typically more present in children than adults because, as Dr. Armstrong points out, children are more apt to close their eyes and see all sorts of images. Although adults can still imagine, we’re more apt to close our eyes and see reality.
What may be my all-time favorite evidence that young children are imaginative came from a young boy that I’ll call Brent. At the end of a recent day, Brent’s parents asked him, “What was your favorite thing we did today?”
Without skipping a beat and as confident as can be, he declared, “We built toy dinosaurs!”
But actually, they didn’t. And Brent’s parents told me he usually answers this question with something they didn’t do. It’s not that Brent doesn’t like anything he actually does. His imagination just sometimes creates something better in his mind.
We can give kids time to imagine. We can ask them what they see in their mind’s eye. We can listen to their made-up stories. We can encourage imaginative play. We can join them to keep our imagination alive, too – imagine that!
Check out what Tina Hollenbeck wrote in the imagination chapter in the book she, Brad Sargent, and I wrote about these genius qualities, Celebrating Children’s 12 Genius Qualities.
“Do we allow children to “make their own fun” with simple toys and supplies that stretch their imaginations? Do we grant them unstructured time that they must discover how to fill productively? Or do we, instead, program and plan their every waking minute and fill their rooms with toys that beep and buzz and talk at them, telling them what to think and feel?”
“There’s a place in each child’s life for organized activity. And it’s okay for kids to occasionally “be entertained” – via apps or websites or TV. But we make a serious mistake if we think that days overflowing with technology and scheduled “enrichment” will give our kids a leg-up in life. Children need to develop their imaginations and the other genius qualities in order to ultimately lead productive, fulfilled lives. So we need to do what it takes to build that into them from an early age. We need to give them the time and opportunity to create within their own heads.” (pages 42-43)
“Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun.”
~ George Scialabba
Check out other blogs in this series: