Imagine explaining New York City to a child who has lived in a small, rural community. You could talk about the way that sky-scrapers are like two-story houses, but even taller. You could talk about how the streets are busy — kind of like Walmart at Christmastime. These comparisons can be a good start, but they can only take the student so far. Obviously, to really understand NYC, the child would need to visit. But, the next best thing is to show dynamic, accurate visual or artistic representations. These representations can inform and fuel an accurate imagination.
Imagination is often thought of as a place to dream up fantasy worlds and make-believe. However, an informed, accurate imagination is a tool that can envision the real world and what we should truly believe.
The classic tools that we use to help students with imagination include pictures, maps, and graphs. But here are three other types of tools that you can use in your class to fuel and shape healthy imaginations.
Well-Done Christian Documentaries
Sadly, there are some Christian media projects that are not excellent in content or quality, but there are others that are fantastic. Be on the lookout for those that are really good. I’m currently intrigued by this preview of The Riot and the Dance: Water, in which Dr. Gordon Wilson states, “One Artist invented water. He invented every liquid habitat and ecosystem that has ever existed. And He fills every inch with life, with death, and with perpetual renewal.” This is the kind of resource that we need to invite into our classrooms.
These are visualizations of reality. They can help us see the truth about how things relate to us and each other. These kinds of images can help information “click” in our students’ minds. Here is an example about the languages spoken in the world. There are many ways that this could be used in relation to biblical integration. Can you think of any?
Over the past summer, I was able to read a biography of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. There was a great deal of content about how his faith shaped his decision-making in every stage of life. Faithful, historical-figures like William Wilberforce, Hannah More, and Isaac Milner are worth exploring. These three Christians were contemporaries and made massive impacts in their fields — Wilberforce in government, More in literature and education, and Milner in mathematics. They are examples for us and our students. Thankfully, numerous biographies about Christian thinkers and leaders are written for all reading-levels. These should be used regularly and freely.
These three types of resources can fuel accurate, godly imaginations. We might not be able to take them all to New York City, but we can make the idea of of NYC come to life in accurate, engaging ways. Let’s do more than tell our students about God’s integrated world; let’s show them.