(by Southwest Community’s own…. Annette McDaniel)
As a child my teachers labeled me a daydreamer. Apparently they disagreed with Albert Einstein’s philosophy that “imagination is more important than knowledge”. But Einstein did poorly in school and yet, I hear he didn’t turn out too badly.
I am thankful for the gift of imagination. It takes me places my diminished physical capacity cannot. Watching nature programs on television, I can hike through the Outback or scuba dive into coral gardens surrounded by exotic marine life, with equal ease. Dreaming and imagination are interchangeable but dreaming, especially daydreaming tends to have a negative connotation. If you daydream, you are labeled unproductive. But, if you dream, turn it into a goal and then an accomplishment, that’s branded positive and successful.
Imagination is the ability to form mental images—to spontaneously generate an image within one’s mind. You know you have an active imagination when you put on a sweater in the heat of summer while watching a documentary on the penguins in the Antarctic. Imagination is thought to be the experimental part of the mind that creates theories. From theory to invention is only a short distance from being airborne, as Mrs. Wright’s boys discovered. Their dreams and those of other inventors, fueled by imagination, created the products that enrich our lives today.
The value of the imagination in social relationships is enhanced when we can see ourselves in another person’s shoes. That’s empathy and it is the way to build understanding, friendships and (dare we dream?) even world peace. Imagination generates solutions. Have you ever gone to bed mulling over a problem and awakened with the answer? It is because our subconscious, working the night shift in our “brain factory” is more productive than the conscious mind during the day when it is bombarded by stimulus-overload from so much sensory input. (We could discuss the sensory overload generated by cell phones, IPads and the Internet, but we won’t)
One could fret about unmet goals or actively work on dreaming our way to success. Being self- motivated is the key. “Use it or lose it” pertains to the physical aspect of our lives and equally to our mental acuity. Every two years I watch the Olympics and vicariously race down the track with the runners. I swim, tumble and vault, (in my mind) amazingly fit and toned. When the games are over, my imagination glows with health and vitality but my chair-bound muscles tell another story. I am neither fit nor toned as the athletes I enjoyed watching so it’s back to my exercise routine.
Do you want to fire up your imagination? Hang out with young children. They see a paper tube as a telescope, a magic wand, or a pirate’s sword. In their hands a blanket is a tent or a super- hero’s cape. Imagination is the fairy dust that transforms. Mr. Einstein was right. “Knowledge defines all we currently know and understand but imagination points to all we may yet discover and create.” It’s never too late to create so dream on, but don’t forget to thank our Creator for
this marvelous gift!