Hands up those who find it's dark by the time they pick their kids up from school these days? Hands up those who need a raft to get there, as it's been raining so much? This week, partly due to dark, diluvial circumstance, but also partly due to firm belief, I want to show you that tapping into your wild is a state of mind. It doesn't have to be a physical place. Entering wilderness is about busting some bohemian moves, it’s about thinking outside of the hamper, it’s about as Pico Iyer says in The Art of Stillness, going nowhere, to be fully present. Here are 5 easy ways your kids can find their wild at home:
Check out this bad boy. I could tell you it was influenced by early Picasso - his Cubist period. But I'd be talking crud. This is a family portrait casually drawn on the side of our bathtub, gone wrong, then furiously scribbled out. Creating substandard artworks is the only way great works can come to life. Sir Ken Robinson says, "If you don't dare to make mistakes, you'll never do anything original." So let your kids create artworks that look like turds. It's OK. The artist Chris Ofili is making a living using turds in his pieces. And they are truly wonderful.
If your kids have clean fingernails something is seriously, seriously wrong in your household. What does your kid do all day? Homework? iPad? TV? Dirty fingernails = a kid being a kid. Dirty fingernails means your kids have been teaching snails ballet in the backyard, or they may have been feeding earthworms M&Ms, or turning your last cereal box into a hospital for the injured Gogos, just back from WW1. Tangly hair on top is even better, as it means you've got better things to do with your life than worry about whether your kids look groomed for school. So next time your kids have dirty fingernails, don't say, "That's disgusting!" Ask them what great adventures they've had to get them there.
Fact. There are benefits to being bored. Scientists have discovered that being bored boosts creativity. So next time your kids whine, "I'm sooooooo bored." Enthuse about it, don't chuck them an XBox. Boredom is brilliant. Excellent even. It must be cultivated. Check out comedian Louis C.K.'s wisdom on his kids' boredom... And if that doesn't convince you... a little anecdote: Last summer just before our street party started, Bobby wailed "I'm bored..." I ignored him. Half an hour later, he had set up a "Design Your Own Lego for a £1" stall, was the most popular dude on the street and made enough money to buy a new skate deck.
I love interiors magazines and blogs as much as the next person. But I'll let you in on a little secret. KIDS BEDROOMS DON'T LOOK LIKE SCANDINAVIAN SHOWROOMS. Kids play, start one thing, go to the next, forget about the first thing, have a tantrum, argue, break their sibling's creations - and all that in the space of half an hour. So if your kids room looks like this at the end of the day. Rejoice! They've used it.
A few years back, Bobby had a Superhero Day at nursery. I asked him:
"What superhero do you want to go dressed as?" It was during the era when all kids were really into Spiderman. He replied:
I said, "Who is Superbob?"
"It's me, with all my good bits bigger." Genius right? Who needs a spider, when you've got your own gangly self? So we made a Superbob outfit, which he wore proudly - pants on outside - pretty much for the rest of the year.