What is imagination?

Well, it’s not a mystical, strange ability that only a hand full of people have. The elite filmmakers, writers, painters, or poets don’t have a market on imagination.

The truth is, everyone who breaths have an imagination or the capability to have an imagination. The imagination is the ability to take things, events, and ideas from our past and mash them together to create something new.

Imagination is built on our memories. Stories we have heard or read, events we have been involved in or seen, ideas we have experienced, all make up the ground our creativity and imagination stand on.

Which leads us to why it is so vital. To keep things simple and straightforward, there are two reasons imagination is key to life—and especially your child’s life. The imagination is an engine for education and it pushes us to reach for the stars—to strive to be great.

The engine of education

Let’s talk about your son or daughter first.

Without imagination, we wouldn’t be able to learn math or language or anything at all. We would be like cars without an engine.

Here’s an example. To help our children grasp 1+1=2 we could use two stuffed animals. One stuffed rhino joins a stuffed caterpillar and now they have two stuffed animals. This goes into their memory. But without the engine of the imagination, harder math problems, and ideas like subtraction would be impossible.

Down the road, as your child learns, their imagination kicks in. To learn subtraction, like 2-1=1, they need to be able to imagine the rhino and caterpillar stuffies side by side. Then, the rhino is taken to another room. Now they have one stuffed animal, the caterpillar.

The imagination makes that all possible.

This plays out in learning language as well. We teach them the abc’s. This builds up their toolbox and the imagination takes over. As they grow and learn, they draw on the abc’s to create words like me, ran, you.

Reaching for the stars

Memories are vital to life, but we can’t live on them alone. They are the platform for the mind, but none of us want our children living below their potential. We all want them reaching for the stars.

The imagination makes that possible. The imagination pushes them forward, into the future, into what might be, into what they could create.

When you drive your car, you start from one place and head towards the next place. You don’t drive by looking behind you.

Our children would spend forever looking behind them and never reach for anything great without imagination. Children need to know where they come from but they need to see where we are going even more.

The creative spark in your son and/or daughter allows them to take what they know and make something new in the future. It enabled Einstein to combine his bike riding as a child with the concept of racing a light beam to form the foundation for his first breakthrough theory.

What will your child’s imagination cause them to reach for in their future?

Imagination is the Rule

Look around you. Everything you see came from someone’s imagination.

The microwave you use to warm up your coffee, the car you drive, the internet we use, the laptop I type on, the Apple watch you wear, all came about when someone took what they knew and experienced, and then mashed them together to create something new and amazing.


If you came up with a solution of how to get to work faster today…

If you came up with a new way of explaining 4×3 to your child today…

If you posted a photo of a craft you made today…

If you did anything where you took ideas or events from the past and made something new today…

You used your imagination because imagination is the rule, not the exception. It’s not just for geniuses—we use it every day. Let’s help our children exercise their imaginations today.

Christopher Dalton

Author Christopher Dalton

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