While the slogan “now more than ever” may be getting a bit tiresome, it is often genuinely applicable in this day and age – sometimes clichés are true. The problems currently facing the human race are very real and present a huge challenge to generations that are just now coming of age. While the technical application of science and technology will surely play a role in reversing climate change and solving complex problems like how to feed seven billion people, science alone cannot conquer these problems, imagination is required as well. In this post, we’ll look at several ways to help cultivate an active and powerful imagination in your kids and teenagers so that they’re up to the task. We’ll also look at the specific benefits of nurturing creativity.
Two Distinct Applications
Once in a while, we all run up against someone who just won’t use their imagination. This type of person thinks life is serious and that everything should be analyzed with practicality in mind. You’ll never catch them trying to pick out clouds that look like elephants or making up stories about strangers on the subway. However, this type of person – an indoctrinated grownup, if you will – doesn’t realize that flights of imagination actually play an important role in the development of individuals and the human species at large.
1. Inventions and Social Constructs
Imagination is what allows us to see things differently, imagine a better world, and then try to figure out how to get there. Human rights, for example, are a product of the imagination, and we wouldn’t have alternative energy sources such as wind turbines if someone hadn’t had that imaginative spark. Imagination, therefore, is not just for writers and artists, imagination is helpful in law, science, medicine, in pretty much every conceivable field.
2. Health and Well-being
An active imagination also allows different parts of the mind to connect more easily, making for a better left-brain/ right-brain balance. Not only does these mean you will have a more diversified skill set, it also means you will be an altogether happier person. An active imagination means your brain is more flexible, better at switching gears and not getting stuck in a rigid pattern of thought. Studies show that depression and anxiety disorders essentially amount to a rigid thought pattern that is difficult to break out of. If you’re lamenting the effects of climate change or the tragedies you see on the news, it’s harder to let go of that negativity when it’s time to relax with friends and loved ones.
Strategies for a More Active Imagination
If you have kids, you know that young children have incredibly active imaginations – every phenomenon they come across is the most incredible thing in the world and they come up with all sorts of whacky explanations of what they’re seeing or hearing. We tend to lose this capacity as we grow older, but there are certain practices that help preserve it. Here are a couple:
Making Up Stories:
If you play writing games with your kids, it will help strengthen their imaginations and ignite your own. You can pick a goofy sentence like “the sky is on fire” and give yourselves ten minutes to write a story with that sentence in it.
Kids who grow up playing music gain invaluable social skills and have a superior ability to improvise in any scenario. Music lessons for kids is one of the best ways to cultivate that essential imaginative spark that will give your teen a leg up in their professional career and in their day-to-day personal lives – and you may find your own inspiration as well.