C. S. Lewis on the Importance of Imagination

Just yesterday I came across this quote from a letter by C. S. Lewis. It captures a truth important to me about reading to children, and the sorts of things they need exposure to. Of course Lewis also argues elsewhere that stories themselves have a keen power in pointing us to Christ. So awakening the imagination is also part of pointing one to Christ.

“Minto reads him the Peter Rabbit books every evening, and it is a lovely sight. She read very slowly and he gazes up into her eyes which look enormous through her spectacles – what a pity she has no grandchildren. Would you believe it, the child has never been read to nor told a story in his life? Not that he is neglected. He has a whole time Nurse (an insufferable semi-lady scientific woman with a diploma from some Tom-fool nursing college), a hundred patent foods, is spoiled, and far too expensively dressed: but his poor imagination has been left without any natural food at all. I often wonder what the present generation of children will grow up like. . . . They have been treated with so much indulgence yet so little affection, with so much science and so little mother-wit. Not a fairy tale nor a nursery rhyme.”

– Quoted in Alan Jacobs, The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis, 217). (New York: HaperCollins, 2005), 234-35.

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