Children have the most wonderful way of expressing rich imaginary perspectives and deep belief in the intangible. Their imagination is easily remembered as a reality. As children mature, so too does their ability to extend their imagination to the unreal. So what limits our ability as adults to imagine? Is it the constraints of making a living or the knowledge of how the world actually works? Is imagination seen as a way to escape reality? Imagination is the antidote necessary for learning about people and events we don’t directly experience, for contemplating reality and avoiding boredom and disenchantments.
My children have an innate capacity to believe and trust in me. I lost my dad 3 years ago and planted a rose garden in his memory. When I see a white butterfly around the rose garden, I tell my children their Oupa is visiting. They have never forgotten this and often remind me that Oupa is around if they see a white butterfly. This white butterfly has become symbolic of my father in our lives today. Cognitively, my girls know that Oupa lived and was my father, but having left for heaven he visits earth as a white butterfly. But they have not yet distinguished what is impossible or conceivably, that which is unlikely.
Fantasy is correlated with positive attributes such as creativity, sociality, and taking the perspectives of others. It also helps children cope with stressful situations — problem solving through their imagination. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination… is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world”. Our beliefs are truths related to practical activity whereas imagination is free. Imagination allows us to experience a whole world inside our minds. Imagination combines our senses and feelings, allowing us the privilege to recreate or remodel our world and our life. What we imagine with faith and feelings soars into being. It is the important ingredient of creative visualisation, positive thinking and affirmations.
“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement”. Tap into, nurture, nourish and celebrate each child’s sense of instinctive wonder of life. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. Our ability to stand rapt in awe is dimmed and even lost by adulthood. It’s buried under bills, deadlines, responsibilities and housework. Perhaps, we have become too scientific and logical, too analytical rather than relying on our intuition. Or maybe it’s our distrust or fear in a world that causes strife and violence that ceases to allow us the possibilities to imagine.
How do you marvel at a remarkable phenomenon or cultivate a sense of wonder in your life?
Take tips from children at play; everything is new, bright and exciting. Travel more, even if it’s just locally. Learn to admire, to be amazed, to be in awe, to marvel. Rediscover the joy, mystery and excitement of the world we live in. Invoke memories, revisit your own magical moments and focus on the beauty around you, watching as the world goes by. Spend time in nature and with children. Create something extraordinary out of the ordinary, be involved in the moment, kindle enthusiasm — creativity is therapy. Waken interest and passions – be alive, be creative! Paint, write, act, dance, play or listen to music. Beautify your home, cook, garden, lie under a tree and just be!
Stress, distractions, and the fast pace of life have cluttered our minds. Time away from the mundane, helps us set aside the chaos of today and allows us the chance to wonder at our world. Reading is a wonderful tool that enhances thinking and engages the imagination in a way that visual media cannot. It develops imagination, induction, reflection, and critical thinking, as well as vocabulary. So take time to stop, put down your many distractions and let your imagination lead the way.