Timothy Murray

I am an active husband and father and enjoy reading, writing, and gardening. I and my wife have three daughters that keep us busy and well entertained!

imagination2 e1367399156481 Creativity: A Means to Individuality and LearningMy three year old has quite an active imagination.  Several family members have pointed out that she inherited this, at least in some part, from me.  As a child, I was always imagining this or that.  One day I was the Lone Ranger riding the open, dusty trails of the wild West.  The next I was a private in a platoon deep in the jungles of Vietnam.



My two favorite words as a child were, Let’s pretend . . .

As I said, my three year old has the same sort of creative imagination.  She is constantly pretending to be this or that Disney  or Nick Jr. character.  Right now her character of choice is Henry Hugglemonster.  We will call her by name and she will reply, No, I’m Henry Hugglemonster!  In fact, she can become quite persistent and indignant about it!

She will use any and everything (including her one year old sister) as a pretend partner.  She will often times use her fingers to be different people.  She will sit for minutes at a time talking finger to finger, pretending all sorts of different scenarios and situations.

Creativity and imagination seem to be becoming more and more lost art forms.  More and more kids are succumbing to a lack of creativity.  They are surrendering their imaginations at the feet of video games and smartphones.  Kids, it would seem, really have no reason for imagination any longer.  Who needs imagination and creativity, after all, when you have the high tech computer graphics of XBox and Playstation video games?

However, when we give up our creativity, when we give up our imagination we give up part of ourselves.  Einstein said on more than one occasion that creativity and imagination were the greatest pursuits of any mind.  Imagination, good ole fashion pretending, I would contend, brings out our individuality and self-identity.  It is not so much about escapism, as it is about shaping our self-image and developing those skills in our brain to see patterns and use deductive thinking.

In the past, I have worked with children who lacked imagination and creativity.  Many of them suffered reading deficiencies and lacked imagery skills.  Part of reading comprehension is the ability to visualize what one is reading.  This not only helps in recall skills, but also basic understanding of text and thought flow.

I try to do all I can to encourage my daughters to use their imaginations, to be creative and spontaneous.  In so doing, I believe they are growing and maturing in their self-identity and heightening their self-image.  It pushes them beyond themselves to be different types of people and things and to see the world from a larger, more expansive point of view.  Thinking outside the box seems to be a skill that is becoming more and more rare.

What can we do as parents?  Play with our kids.  Encourage their imaginations through art and music and storytelling.  Get in the floor and pretend right along with them.  Let their little personalities come out and be shaped and formed, as they learn to play and imagine and take in the world around them.

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