Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Latest Issue


Summer 2013

Simply Creative

Recently my nine-year-old son brought home his creative writing book from school.

He’s in P5 and this book is where he is encouraged to recall events in his life and make up stories based on topics they cover in class; Egypt, Ancient Greece and so on.

This creative writing book is a beautiful mix of innocence,
enthusiasm and charm and for a mother of a boy, is pure gold.

You see, I don’t get much feedback from my son about his day at school or his evening at hockey training or when he's been on a day-trip with his dad.

Everything is great in his world. ‘How’s school?’ ‘Great’. ‘How was the trip to London?’ ‘Great’. ‘How are you feeling today?’ ‘Great’. ‘How are my mothering skills?’ ‘Great’.

Ok, so I made up that last question, but I you get where I’m coming from and if you’re a mum of boys, you’ll probably identify with me.

(Oh and I’m aware that I shouldn’t complain about ‘great’. It’s a pretty amazing answer to be getting to these questions!)
But back to the book! One story was so full of heart-warming
expressions of concern and hope for his Uncle Billy in hospital in Donegal, it brought a tear to my eye. Others were hilarious
recollections of recent class outings and friends’ birthday parties.

However, it was his stories about holidays and activities with the family that were most insightful. For example - he wrote about a trip to London with his dad last year. His highlights ('the best bits') of the week included playing with his aunt’s dogs, getting to stay up late and playing football with his cousin. No mention of the premiership rugby and football games, the night spent in a London hotel or the VIP trip to the Odeon.

That got me thinking that too often as parents, we want to, or feel obliged to, over-design our kids’ lives with expensive trips and extravagant events and schedules. Are we just doing this to keep up with or trump other parents? Are, in fact, the best things in life completely free?

Could it be that our kids will find the simple stuff - the outdoor playtime with friends, staying up late, going for walks and cycles, baking with mum, helping dad in the garden, most memorable?

Even just allowing our kids to get bored every now and again
(obviously not all the time!) might be a good thing as it often ignites creativity in order to fill that time - as well as showing them how to switch off.

And it strikes me that this approach is wonderful for parents also – in a hectic lifestyle where we are bombarded constantly by electronic devices, it’s good for us to set aside time to spend with our kids doing the simple stuff.

Meantime, I go back to this completely free of charge, utterly
wonderful creative writing book. It has brought me so much joy this week, made me mighty proud of my son and it’s prompted me to schedule a cycle along the Lagan with the wee man on Saturday.
Avril Keys is a mum of three who blogs over at about finding her way in the
mum-fashion minefield that is your late 30s. A Britmums
Brilliance in Blogging finalist, Avril regularly contributes to
fashion websites and has featured in the Daily Mail, Easy
Living Magazine and the Belfast Telegraph.

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