"I do not like to read lies to my child," is the verdict of many a mother. "I give him only histories, biographies, and useful books."
She does not know, this really earnest mother, that she is shutting the door of her child's imagination, and that she may be hampering his power to do great things in after life, by thus closing to him the storehouse of imaginative literature. For later he will not be able to draw full sustenance from classic writings unless he has been fed in youth on the best of folk-literature.
The action of the picture-making power of the mind--the imagination--is a part of almost every mental process.
--Frances Jenkins Olcott
Or, as Albert Einstein puts it:
"If you want your child to be intelligent, read him fairy tales. If you want him to be more intelligent, read him more fairy tales."
"It is said that John Bunyan, during the years he was in jail, became so absorbed in some of the characters in 'Pilgrim's Progress' and was so often carried away with them, that he would often fall on his knees and shed tears of joy in his ecstasies.
"His IMAGINATION transformed his prison into a palace beautiful."
Art credit: John Bunyan in Bedford Jail with his Blind Daughter by Alexander Johnson (Wikigallery)
This month's Mother's University topic is imagination. Here's a crash course from an 1896 text, Imagination and Dramatic Instinct by S.S. Curry, PhD.
Why should the imagination be trained?
1. Its perversion is one of the leading causes of the degradation of character.
2. It is the chief creative faculty.
3. It gives man taste and refinement.
4. It raises him out of a narrow prison into communion with the universe.
5. It lifts him into relation with all things and all men.
6. It develops the comprehension of universal principles.
7. All true appreciation of art and literature is dependent on its exercise.
8. It enables man to appreciate not only the art of his own age and his own country, but that of all other lands and times. By its power he can become a Greek, and see as the Greeks saw, and feel as the Greeks felt.
9. Unless it is developed, there can be little improvement in the ideals of a man or a nation.
10. It enables us to enter into sympathy with our fellow-man. By its power alone can we appreciate the point of view of those different from ourselves.
11. It gives us the power to penetrate to the heart of Nature.
12. It is the faculty which sees beauty and loveliness.
13. It discovers grace in the motion of the storm.
14. It is the faculty which enables man to realize eternity and God.
15. Work without imagination is drudgery, but with it the humblest employment is lifted into the realm of beauty and art.
16. The imagination is the source of all inspiration and interest in life; its activity creates beauty in the commonest objects of handicraft, and gives charm to the humbles home.
Yet, the development of the imagination has been given little or no place in the courses of study in our schools.
How much time are you allowing for the development of the imagination in your busy days?