When I was a boy I had a very vivid imagination. I remember sitting with my dad and talking about bear hunting in the great northwest woods, or traveling with Seargent Preston in the cold, frozen trails of the Yukon with his sled and team of huskies. Dad would ask questions or make comments to stimulate my imagination.
I started to school at the age of five, and shared my imagination with fellow students; they made fun of me. Even the teacher scolded me: “Jerry, you shouldn’t say things like that. You know they are not true.”
By the time I was in the third grade, my vivid imagination was almost in ashes. I’m thankful to a high school English teacher who stirred the dying embers and re-ignited the fire of imagination. I’ve spent my entire adult life working to develop a productive imagination.
Whether it’s speaking to a group or talking with an individual, imagination plays a key role in developing positive influence. Dr. Warren Wiersbe in his book, Preaching and Teaching with Imagination, gives a good description. The references to “right brain” and “left brain” are popular terms used to describe a phenomenon that isn’t totally accepted in the scientific community.
Nevertheless, using these terms is helpful in recognizing human approaches and behaviors. The “right brain” specializes in things creative, such as artistic patterns and shapes, the writing of poetry and painting pictures.
The “left brain” deals with things cognitive and logical, such as language and numbers, and scientific concepts.
Musicians and artists would especially use their “right brain,” while scientists and architects lean heavily on the “left brain.”
You’ve heard the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Norman Cousins wrote in his book Human Options, “If we have learned anything else, it is the ideas of the poets and artists penetrate where everything else has failed.”
The moves and shakers in history are often those who can use words in a way to paint pictures. In the United States during the 1960s, the folk songs of the “flower people” probably did more to influence government policy about Vietnam and civil rights than did all the speeches in Congress. Why? Because these songs painted pictures and stirred the imagination.
Keep in mind there is logic in writing a song, and imagination in conducting a scientific experiment. Creative activity depends on both sides of the brain. The more we bridge the gap between the two, the more creative we can be. Thus, it’s essential to learn how to channel our imagination into productive creativity to benefit ourselves, and our society.
An imagination focused on God, and seeking His wisdom gives strength for living (1 Chronicles 29:18).