There is nothing more precious than a child's imagination. A vivid, creative mind is a truly beautiful thing. And a scarce thing these days. When I was little we didn't have video games or the television on for 5 hours a day. I spent most of my free time playing outside, sports usually, and reading books or playing with my GI Joe figurines with my older brother. Creating grand, made-up scenarios in our room.
What I hope for my little girl is that she keeps dreaming and keeps fantasising. In today's world there are so many scary, external stimuli for young children and so many negative influences for grown ups that being able to stay in that innocent and magical bubble for as long as possible is an absolute blessing. The time children get these days to be truly young and careless is shrinking every year. Social media has taken hold of their lives and keeps dragging them further and further away from the natural joys of life.
I started reading science fantasy at an early age and that opened up my mind to imaginary worlds, magical creatures and adventure stories. I see books as a huge asset in allowing children to explore their imagination. Through books and the stories held within them they learn about the world.
Imagination is the gateway to all possibilities. Dreaming big is critically important for young minds. School is where they can then start working hard at those dreams. It's ok to work hard at your dreams and there's no shame in dreaming big. Imagination is the essence of evolution, the start of exploration and the catalyst for change. Imagining a better more expansive world is the foundation on which change is built. Without this creative, open minded thinking there will never be a drive to improve and explore alternative options. Einstein once said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge".
As a child I used to dream about our planet and all the amazing flora and fauna that inhabit it. I used to dream up imaginary worlds of elves, dwarves and trolls. Epic quests to faraway lands kept me entertained for hours. It's no surprise really that I ended up with a thirst for understanding the natural world and thus studying Biology, twice falling to a lottery system to study veterinarian science at the University of Utrecht. I attribute that curiosity of the world we inhabit in part to my imagination as a child.
Imagination not only takes us to wondrous places and makes life interesting, it stimulates innovation, creates knowledge, but above all it gives hope in difficult times. As long as we have our imagination we can find ways to cope wit whatever life throws at us.