Developing an EPIC Generation - Image-Rich

Friday, September 6, 2019

Continuing with our EPIC series, this week we are going to look at Image-Rich. Our previous posts have covered Experiential and Participatory, and we encourage you to check them out when you get a chance.

Humans are naturally visual creatures, but never before has a generation been bombarded with so many images. Between TV, internet, mobile phones, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc, young people are seeing and processing a huge number of images, and not just images, but images with messages. The research shows that we retain about 20% of what we received as images/media, and so in a world where young people are used to seeing pictures and videos, we need to make use of meaningful images.

We have probably all heard the phrase that a picture is worth a thousand words, so we know the power of pictures to communicate. Aristotle is quoted as saying "the soul never thinks without a picture", because pictures are powerful in our thinking and processing. Organisations like Growing Leaders use images in their training materials, Habitudes is used to teach young people leadership principles and skills. I have used them with student leaders and I still remember a number of the principles that are taught.

And if you need a Biblical example, then there is none better than Jesus. He didn't have powerpoint or keynote when he taught, but where was he when he spoke to Peter about being a fisher of men? By a lake. When Jesus taught the parable of the sower, he painted a word picture but was also likely within a stone's throw of a field if not able to see the field from where he was. When he talked about living water he was by a well (John 4) or in the midst of a feast (Sukkot) that included collecting water from the Pool of Siloam (John 7). When he taught them about faith and spoke about speaking to a mountain, he had just come down from the mountain and it was still visible.

Our teaching environments don't usually give real life visuals, but we can make use of images when we teach. When you have a principle, attach it to a meaningful image.

An example might help, so I will "borrow" one from Habitudes. The leadership principle of the iceburg. 10% of an iceburg is visible above the water line and 90% is hidden. In leadership, 10% of what we do is the visible parts of leadership, and 90% of leadership is unseen. It is the unseen character development and integrity that will sustain us and our leadership. It is the preparation and communication, it is the strategy and systems, it is the study and research that actually give us the platform to lead and influence other. And without the 90% of unseen, the 10% would not be held up.

We encourage you to begin to think about how you can include images into the development, training and teaching of your youth. They are powerful to help them retain the principles and lessons that we impart.

Have you used images in your communication? Have they worked? What have you used and how? Post them to social media and tag them with #youthminnz


Other posts in this series:

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