Your Child’s Imagination is Vital, Part 2
There were once two families. They lived in the country and both families had a pond on their land. The ponds were fed by streams that brought fresh water, fish, frogs and other life into the pond.
Both families loved to catch the fish and watch the frogs and admire the lily pads and their yearly blooms. They would picnic, and laugh, and race around the water. They enjoyed it and the fun the pond brought them all year round.
One day, one of the families decided to stop up the stream feeding their pond. They built a small dam near the source of the stream and the water pooled there, leaving a small trickle moving down the now drying stream bed. The water from the stream never reached the pond again. Soon, the stream vanished.
Their pond grew still—no new life flowed into it. Mosquitos took over. The fish were all caught. The frogs disappeared. The lily’s died. It started to stink. And of course, the family stopped going down to the pond. Eventually, it dried up. No more picnics, no more laughter, no more life in the pond.
The other family kept the stream moving. Sure, the children would build an occasional dam, but it was always taken down after a time. The pond needed the stream’s life.
The children would wade out into the pond and splash in it. They built small forts out of the wood that drifted into the water. They fished responsibly and allowed some of the fish to grow and have babies.
The pond matured and reeds sprung up around the sides. More and more animals came to the pond, and drank, and ate the frogs they could catch. Picnics never stopped, laughter never ceased, and the joy-filled times kept on.
Which of the two families do you live in/are you the parent of? This is not to condemn, but to point out the need for imagination in the home.
When imagination is encouraged and promoted (something we will go into on Friday), the life of your child(ren) grows and develops. They mature. They are filled with life and ideas. Joy springs up around them.
When we allow passive entertainment to go unchecked, dams are built at the source of the stream of ideas. According to Common Sense Media, the average teen (13-18 years of age) spends nine hours a day consuming media of some type. The average tween (8-12 years of age) consumes six hours a day (Common Sense, 2015). Most of what they are taking in is in a passive fashion. They are watching YouTube, or swiping through Instagram photos, or binging a Netflix show. The act of watching and consuming does not stimulate the brain in the same way that creating or merely dreaming of new things does.
Social media, or TV, or games, aren’t bad things. I love to watch a good show. As in the story, building a dam on a stream isn’t bad. But at some point, limits need to be set. The games and passive entertainment need to be limited and removed to allow the stream of imagination to flow.
When we set limits, when we encourage the use and development of the imagination, we will see great things pop up, and our children will be much happier.
1. Common Sense Media (2015). Landmark Report: U.S. Teens Use an Average of Nine Hours of Media Per Day, Tweens Use Six Hours. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/about-us/news/press-releases/landmark-report-us-teens-use-an-average-of-nine-hours-of-media-per-day