I was watching a couple kids play in, around and under the table at a restaurant the other day. They were enjoying themselves so much, laughing and giggling.
I could see that when they were under that table
a whole world of wonder and magic existed.
Imagination Is Real
Anything that they could imagine became real for them.
They may have being on a ship sailing the ocean.
Perhaps they were flying in a rocket to the stars.
They also might have been ninjas fighting a battle.
I am sure for those two young adventurers there are no limits.
Even as they were running around the restaurant you could see they were having a good time. It was my impression that their parents encouraged their imagination. I got this feeling from watching how they interacted and responded with them and also with how free their kids were being.
The Magic Table Cloth
And yet there is something special about being under that table and covered by the tablecloth. It is an interesting phenomenon that even being in the presence of adults can curb the freedom of a child’s imagination.
Children can feel how we have lost
a certain amount of our imagination
and it makes them question their own.
That is why when the table cloth is thrown over the table and the kids are underneath there is suddenly a deeper freedom to be completely immersed in their imagination.
They are not pretending to be in a rocket ship, they are in a rocket ship.
I Made Imagination a Parenting Priority
This is something I always tried to see in my daughter as she was growing up.
I made the conscious effort to be aware of the power of her imagination.
To respect it,
to value it,
to celebrate it
and mostly to learn from it.
From Before She Was Born My Daughter Has Been My Teacher
and this has been one of her primary lessons to me;
That imagination is real.
That there are no limits on our imagination
other than the ones we place on ourselves.
One of the difficult things in watching my child grow older
has been seeing the dissipation of this level of imagination.
All kids go through that as they get older.
It seems to be the way of things.
Even with all the care and attention I put into
supporting and encouraging my daughter’s imagination and playfulness,
it still has a tendency to decrease in intensity over time.
The Cycles of Human Evolution
I believe this is probably a necessary part of human evolution
because we then have the opportunity to reclaim it when we are older.
At least I can feel that I reduced the damage
to a significant degree with the attitude I had around it.
Imagination Positive Environment
Now my daughter is 18 and I can see the lingering residue
of the imagination positive environment in which she grew up.
Her very creative and flexible mind,
her ability to spend time by herself,
her ability to accept the ebb and flow of life.
I think a powerful imagination contributes greatly
to all of these excellent qualities.
Encourage Imagination in Every Child
Whenever you encounter a child interact with them
in a way that reinforces their belief in their imagination.
Always support it.
The challenge is to open our own imaginations enough
that they can feel we are connected to them.
We may not see the dragon in the sky as clearly as they do,
but we can stretch ourselves to see it more than we’re used to.
This effort can be felt by kids and they feel so wonderfully appreciated.
Of course the benefit of this is
your enjoyment of life necessarily increases.
That is a pretty good side effect I would say!