Keep a child’s imagination ‘as gentle as a deer!’

Imagine the wind, crying, with a wise owl staring maybe at a gentle deer or a tough gorilla. A running fawn, playing next to a fluttering butterfly with a silly frog, acting well, silly. Imagine all of this combined together as a story. How our brain combines elements, whether a crying wind full of wise owls, to form a creative activity, is called imagination. My 8 year old daughter is full of it. In a recent assignment for school, she was asked to imagine Native American names for her family member. Every name she gave, brought her love and understanding of Native American culture to the forefront. It’s almost like she understood for example, why mom would be described a gentle deer, or grandmama, a wise old owl. Imagining these names in words and art form, became a meaningful and necessary task for her, one that I intend to help her keep. Imagination, even with something as simple as thinking about names that vividly represent her family members, combines more skills than other task. It is through her imagination, that her creative self is brought closer to life.

Imagination helps my daughter understand why a person can be gentle or wise or even tough. Imagination helps her draw and at the same time talk about her drawing. Imagination helps her make something that looks like reality. To the extent that I want to ensure she has the right skills necessary for a great future, imagination will always be one of the main forces through which she will attain this goal. My daughters fierce imagination, is what I choose to keep today. She is literally on fire, the way she combines elements in her head to tell stories. A natural storyteller, it’s almost as if stories have always been with her, always buzzing in her head, waiting for the right moment, the right prompt to liberate her brain.

Of course I see myself in her. They way she weaves together words with images, gives a sense of connectedness, that is quite striking for her age. It’s like she is part of an imagination club, our club, where words are given permission to thrive. And they do. Her imagination is stunning. Her gift of combining different concepts and ideas to form one unified whole makes me smile. So I say to you, keep a child’s imagination, especially if they are as gentle as a deer or wise like an owl.

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