Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Club: Imagination Method #1

In contrast to the coal mines and dump yards where author Esolen grew up and developed his imagination, I was reared on a river and battleground (where the Yankees made their way into Atlanta).

Flooding finally destroyed the family homestead but not the sights, sounds, and symbols that fed the thoughts of mine.

Yards large enough for kickball or tag football, streets quiet and steep enough for bike-riding, woods replete with an assortment of flora and fauna, the Chattahoochee River (yes, we played in it), and Confederate bunkers (Johnny Reb to the core)  comprised our idyllic neighborhood.

Keeping children indoors was an impossibility.

Yet, sometimes we had to stay inside in order to be safe or finish our homework :-)

If I'd known that Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child was a parenting manual (unlike his Ironies of Faith), I don't think I'd have signed up for discussion (link to online bookclub).  But now that I'm here, let me say that I'm adding this how-to volume to my list of Top Five, despite the overwhelming number of literary references that I havent read completely.

Fortunately, my children are *grown* and it's easier for me to see the big picture.  That is, how the frustrating schools days and seemingly disorganized academic years do provide children with the ability to form the mental images, sensations, and concepts that comprise their imaginations.

It is the fundamental facility through which we make sense of the world.

It can be trained in a variety of ways.  See my homeschooling or leisure links.

So, be encouraged.

You are not drowning in the flood waters of the nasty river named *21st century American culture.*

This you will know when you read this fine article entitled, The Romance of Domesticity, by Professor Nathan Schlueter.  He pulls it all together for us ~
What is required is a truly realist imagination, one that captures and reveals the extraordinary quality of ordinary life.  Such an imagination would restore the “chest,” the locus of the imagination, to its rightful place as the mediator and integrating principle of intellect and appetite, soul and body, in the human person.


  1. Dana,
    I am happy you are on board. Even though you don't have children to raise you have young mothers to disciple. I think you bring a nice balance.

  2. Thank you for linking to the Touchstone article!

  3. I'll jump over and head to the Touchstone article in a minute...But first...You wrote: ...how the frustrating school days and seemingly disorganized academic years do provide children with the ability to form the mental images, sensations, and concepts that comprise their imaginations.

    I wonder if that is true because your children attended a good school? When I look back on my own education, I wonder that it did not manage to completely crush me. There were a couple bright spots (high school teachers), and there was my father, who, when my teachers tried to do what Esolen says and turn all science into biology and all biology into ecology, or turn economic into an intro-to-socialism lesson, made me read some truly good books on the subjects. I find that almost my entire adulthood has been a form of recuperation from my education, and I am finding myself recovering that lost sense of awe and wonder...

  4. Off the cuff, Brandy....

    disorganized and frustating days AND the smooth-going, happy-go-lucky days

    BOTH provide stimili (positive & negative) for the imagination.

    We're not talking about the formation of deductive reasoning skills.

    I think I may have an example which would be too long for the comment box, so I'll try and make an additional entry for it.

  5. Okay. I think I just didn't quite understand what you meant the first time! Thank you for explaining to me a little. :)

  6. I think that it is like most parts of life - we are formed by the positive and the negative. We need to live with the fact that we are not going to be perfect parents or give our children the perfect education, but that's OK. We do the best we can, and God redeems it - as he does all things.
    Even the things we regret are still formative and God can use them.