“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein
I have recently been asking every single person I meet if imagination plays a role in their job, and EVERYONE says imagination is key. However, there is a strange disconnect in our parenting and educational systems. In all my time as an educator and parent, I have never heard parents or educators of young children talk about nurturing their imagination. They are more concerned with recognizing letters, counting to 100, spelling. Their focus is on the memorization, and very specific skill sets.
If you sit a child down and drill them on memorization, they will be able to do it, and you will have a parrot who can recite an extraordinary amount of facts. And they can do that because children’s brains are sponges. It may seem impressive and exciting, but it will not serve them or lead to success down the road. Skill with no imagination is just a machine. The key is to apply those skills and create associations in order to produce a better world. When skills are combined with imagination, that is when you get inventions and discoveries.
The people who will make a difference will be the ones who say, What if? What if we change this ingredient, or add one more drop, or add one more decimal point, or combine these things? It is that imagination that asks questions and makes discoveries. As parents and educators, we need to support the growth of imagination as much as we support the growth of academics, because without them both, there is no moving forward.