Raising Boys {Who Use Their Imagination}

February 21, 2011

It's "Raising Boys" Week at GraceLaced! As you know, this particular theme is dear and significant in my daily life. I hope you will check in all week as we will visit a different aspect of raising boys every day, including a special guest post by The Preacher tomorrow, and a much anticipated guest post from the wonderful Ashley Ann from Under the Sycamore on Thursday! Endless hours could be dedicated to the topic of Raising Boys, and surely, we will only scratch the surface, but I pray this week will be an encouragement to you, whoever the little boys are that you call special in your life.

All boys have imaginations. Not all boys foster the ability to use them. Sometimes what appears to be an imagination is not really what the dictionary defines as: “the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses,“ but rather, a mere mimicking of what is readily accessible in movies, or media. Raising boys who enjoy creating, inventing, and expressing what is in their minds’ eye, is less than commonplace in a world that overstimulates our children’s senses to the point of extinction. So how do we foster our boys’ imaginations? Here’s a list to get you started....I’m sure you’ll have plenty more to add to these 10 if you use your imagination...

1. Send them outside. Don’t underestimate wide open spaces with “nothing” to do.

2. Boy need dress-up boxes too. (Think historical and heroic figures, not merely comic superheros!)

3. Offer simple toys that don’t require batteries. Simplicity = a means to an end (the end being their imaginations). Bells and whistles = a dead end.

4. Rotate toys; don’t make all toys available all the time.

5. Read stories to your boys that you enjoy listening to. If you don’t think there’s strong literary character development in a book, they won’t develop character as a result of listening to it.

6. Consider quantity and quality of television and movie viewing. Always read a book before watching the movie.

7. Buy them a journal and pencil-case filled with freshly sharpened pencils.

8. Encourage siblings to play together, rather than independently from one another. (Imagination is often a function of collaboration.)

9. Take any opportunity to teach them a skill: learning to fish, to shoot a bow and arrow, or to use a wrench, feeds the imagination unlike anything merely observed.

10. Give them your full attention when your boys try to describe “the coolest thing” they’ve come up with. You’ll be telling them their imagination is as fascinating as they believe it is. And that fosters more use of their imagination.

Have a wonderful Monday, and see you tomorrow!


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