Spiritual Growth

God Created Your Child to Imagine

September 26, 2016 • 3 min
Little curious explorer

Why did God give us imaginations? We were made in his image. A fun day at the zoo is a window into the amazing imagination of God. What was God thinking when he made a tarantula? An elephant? A chimpanzee? A flamingo? Your children were created to imagine. A recent article in Parenting Magazine said, “Imagination is something we should all favor. Child-development experts unanimously celebrate the benefits of a healthy imagination. A child with a good imagination is happier and more alert, better able to cope with life’s twists and turns, and more likely to grow into a well-adjusted, secure adult.”

How do we encourage our kids to imagine and be creative, but ground them in the truth? What is the difference in a child’s mind between creativity and lying? We want our kids to have a healthy imagination but we teach them to always speak the truth. What do we do with the contradiction?

The Bible is surprisingly quiet on this subject. In fact, most of the verses seem to speak against thoughts that are not true. Yet, we were created to imagine. God brought the animals he had created to Adam in the Garden of Eden so that Adam could name them (Genesis 2:19). Adam had to have a healthy imagination to come up with those names. Heaven is described using earthly descriptions for heavenly concepts. We can’t consider heaven unless we can imagine what it might look like.

How do we help our kids develop a healthy imagination, yet live truthfully? Paul gives us a great “rule of thumb” in 2 Corinthians 10:5 saying, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Imagination is often linked with fantasy, but children need to understand the difference. Most great Disney movies have aspects that are truthful, while others are fantasy. It is good to talk about the differences.

How can you help your child’s imagination to soar, but ground them in truth?

  • Teach kids to imagine possibilities. The car is real, but imagine where it might travel. The bird is sitting on a branch, but imagine where it might fly. The ocean is vast, but imagine the fish that might be swimming in those waters.
  • Teach kids to imagine opportunities. Children have natural abilities. Imagine how God might use those abilities in the future. Who and what might they grow up to become? How might they help others because of their abilities?
  • Watch movies and television with your kids. Talk about the real lessons that can be learned from a movie about animals that talk. Talk about the things that were truthful, and the things that could only be fantasy.
  • Teach them the difference between telling a story and telling a lie. Examine the motivation behind the imagination. Jesus told stories to his disciples so that he could teach a truth. The prodigal son was a story about real possibilities. There is a difference between creativity and telling lies. Most often that difference can be found in the reason the story was told.

We want our kids to be creative, imaginative, and truthful. One of the best ways to encourage your child’s imagination is to ground them in the amazingly creative Word of God. Psalm 119 is all about the incredible truth and power of God’s word. Verses 9–11 teach the balance between creativity and truth: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” We seek God with our imaginations, but we seek a God who is real.

Counterfeit money is judged false by holding the bill up to the light and comparing it to what is real. God gave us imaginations and Scripture so that we could do the same. Your kids were created to be creative. Parents can help their children imagine possibilities, opportunities and all things eternal. We are all made in the image of God. We can learn, and learn to teach our kids, to be creative in the truth rather than with the truth. Encourage them to imagine all the possibilities that God has planned for their lives.

About the Author:

Janet Denison

Janet Denison teaches others to live an authentic faith through her writing, speaking, and teaching ministry. She blogs weekly at Foundationswithjanet.org and often at ChristianParenting.org.

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