“Children are our future” the song goes. Indeed they are and nothing is more important than developing their imagination and creativity. “Individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different” as Neil Gaiman, the author, said in his Reading Agency lecture in 2013.
This is especially important in a country like the UK. We are not blessed with large natural resources, nor is our industrial capacity anything like it was, or needs to be, to support ourselves in today’s world. What we do have, though, is a great history of science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship … our brain power !. The key to exploiting this is to have our children grow up inquisitive and creative … with their imaginations fully developed.
The ability to imagine and be creative needs to be developed and, like any ‘muscle’, the more you do the better you get at it. Not least we need to make sure every new generation has access to the written word and is encouraged to immerse themselves in it. This is such an important thing – the link between our lives and the lives of others created by the written word and our imagination. It matters not whether what is written and read is fact or fiction the effect is the same.
We, the grown-ups, have a responsibility, particularly in this age of short term attention spams and pre-produced multi-media, to give children the space and time and tools to explore and then just imagine. If the world is to evolve positively to be an ever better place then we must constantly create (and also empathise which reading also develops, but that’s another, different, post). To ensure this we must encourage the young to develop their imaginations and creativity, and, we think, the best way to start is via reading and then writing stories.