Being able to use your brain in imaginative ways helps with problem solving, creating experiences, and even creating result goals. Growing up my mom pushed us to figure things out, while my dad had us imagining big, like playing basketball for the greatest NBA team invented, the Knicks (before they traded away Ewing). In following my parents example from the Unwritten Parent Manual I decided to become the Imaginationer.
One thing that was not tolerated in my house growing up was laziness. If we wanted money to buy candy at the store, my mom would tell us figure out a way to get some. As a result me and my siblings created chores. If we demanded a snack from my mom, she would say, “I’m hungry too! Go to the kitchen and get me what you’re getting yourself.” Clever, right? On beautiful days she would say, “you guys should go to the park and play! Use your chores money to get something yummy for lunch and I’ll see you at dinner.” So my siblings and I would bike to the park with a ball, invent games to play, and have the best time ever. Some of that stuff isn’t exactly possible in todays day and age, but the way my mom taught us to think for ourselves was more important than I can describe.
If my son wants ice water, I tell him where the cups and ice are. If my other son wants my help to build a puzzle, I tell him to start it and I’ll help finish it (he never needs my help finishing it). If my daughter wants lip gloss that she saw on amazon, she is doing chores to earn the money to buy it.
My dad on the other hand would create incredibly imaginative situations where future versions of us were doing impressive things, like LeRoy the 4th watching me play soccer somewhere in Europe. Because all of his stories had a point, he would let us know the only way we get that impressive future was to do our homework, practice, or to stay prayerful. Even if we didn’t live up to the exact fictitious end result he dreamed up, we did all the important things to put us in a position to be successful later in life. In keeping with the imaginative scenarios, I can’t wait for LeRoy the 5th to watch his dad play soccer in Europe.
Forcing the brain to think imaginatively helps solve problems, create long term vision, and actually helps you focus. That is why I feel it is something every parent should incorporate in their parenting arsenal.