Art Teaches. . . That You Don’t Have To Get It “Right”

I actually surprised myself yesterday. Not in the fact that I went to an art therapy day, but the actual difference that it made to me. In this piece, I want to tell you what one of them is.

One of the things that really helped me was that I could actually see how far on I was in the mindset work that I have been doing.

You Don't Have to "Get It RIght" || Anika's Hearts and Crafts

Amanda said right at the start, she goes into school and the pupils all bring work to her and ask if “it’s right” or “good” etc. None of them feel satisfied with her response that if they like it, that’s the important point.

One of the problems with education I feel is that children are so focused on getting it “right” or “correct.”

That when it comes to a more imaginative topic like art where there is no right or wrong it’s what you like that’s important, they can’t get their heads around it.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been educated myself (with a BA and an MA) and I believe in education and its ability to help you do work and earn money. It’s a good thing, but, as with every good thing, there are some drawbacks or negatives. And that’s ok. It teaches you skills you need in later life.

But not everything in life is so cut and dried as to have a right or wrong.

With art, everyone has an opinion and some people will like what you do, others won’t. There are different styles of art, you can mix and match materials, shape, size etc. So as long as you do what is enjoyable and means something to you, that’s the important point.

Any art is an expression of yourself and so part of your life. And you are not incorrect or correct – or totally good or bad. What you are is you!

Until next time….


You Don't Have to "Get It RIght" || Anika's Hearts and Crafts

All in Your Head

I saw an incident yesterday that left me totally moved. Now that’s not to say I don’t find other things difficult but this for was deeply unsettling.

The Incident

Johnathan and I had been to the doctor and we came outside to see an elderly gentleman being told to get out of the car. He was protesting that he needed help. The younger couple in the car with him ended up having to help him up. They then sat him on his walker for a little rest. Then she told him to get up and walk in as he was late for an appointment.

The elderly gentleman was obviously distraught as he continued saying he couldn’t do it and she was insisting that he could! I called over and the younger man came towards the car window I had pulled down. I said to him that he could get a manual chair from inside the doctor’s surgery.

He assured me that he could walk because it was all in his head. They all knew he was just lazy. He had been lying in a hospital bed for 9 weeks and now he refused to walk because he was lazy and didn’t want to help himself. The doctors had said there was nothing wrong but he was choosing to be like this.

I think the difficulty comes when people don’t understand what “all in your head” actually means.

You see, it didn’t matter if it was in his head or not. The fact is that he believed it so his body was doing it.

As we were leaving Johnathan asked me why an old man would choose to be lazy and I explained to him that it wasn’t what he chose to do but his brain was telling him he couldn’t do it.

It actually made me stop and think how fortunate I was when this happened to me 9 years ago.

I had an understanding husband who supported me. And a physio who also did and basically taught me how to walk again in the 8 weeks I was in the hospital.

Without that help and support, I would not have coped with life and I’m sad to see that things like this still go on. What do you think?



Johnathan & The Disco

Johnathan had a really big day. He went to his very first disco! We had never even suggested he should go to anything like that because we really didn’t feel he would be able to cope with it.

Having said that, we were proved wrong.

He loved it! He was absolutely delighted with the evening, except for 2 things. One, we hadn’t given him enough money to spend to get a drink. Two, he was disappointed that he didn’t win the best dancer in the room. Considering he is in the first class of primary school and has never been to a disco, we were not surprised!

Now that I think about it, he loves music.

And stuff that I personally find a bit head-banging. In fact, his music has become too loud for me. So we have set up a system where he is locked into downloaded music on an ipad. We use it for when he is in the car as he hates the car noise and the sound of rain on the car.

Also, he was able to perform in his nursery graduation. We didn’t think he would manage it but he did. We have decided that now we will just give him the choice. If he hates it, we can always go and pick him up.

So the Disco, for Johnathan, shows just how much he has overcome in the six years of his life.

I am amazed and proud of my son for tackling something I never thought to see him do.

Yes, there are still more areas where he needs help to flourish, but we can do this. I had a meeting with the deputy head. We talked about everything he was facing and how he was doing. Even a few months ago, I didn’t believe he would ever be a boy in a normal school, but he is.



Watching New Skills Emerge Through Chess

I have never understood the game of chess and thought it was really complicated. Of course, it can be – going up to the international level. But you don’t have to be at that level to play the game.

Obviously, everyone has to start somewhere.

Today my son was at a playdate and the four-year-old he was playing with suggested they play chess. Now we had not introduced the game to Johnathan. But he plays on an equal basis with my husband on a number of different Wii games and when we play snakes and ladders with him, he is never given any chance to not play properly.

Learning to Play Chess

Anyway, they wanted to play in the sitting room with us. My friend positioned herself so that she could help Johnathan who didn’t even know what each piece stood for or the moves they could make. She also said it would be amusing to hear her 4-year-old teach someone else as she had no idea if he could do it or not!

The four-year-old actually did a comparatively great job of explaining it to my son. To my surprise, the beginning level wasn’t as bad as I remembered. And I understood the basics of how the game was played as explained by her son.

My friend Becky was not needed as much as we had thought. Even though Johnathan is intelligent, he has never attempted anything like this. I had no idea if he would manage to or not.

To my surprise, within a very few minutes, he had actually learnt all the pieces and their moves.

Long before the game was over, he was already talking about strategy and plotting how he was going to win!

To me, this was quite amazing that he managed so well. I managed to get the moves in my head. But as far as strategy went, other than the initial move in front of me, planning long-range ones expended more thought than I was ready to use this morning.

The wonderful thing was that I discovered the versatility of my son’s brain. And just how quickly he can learn things and develop strategies that leave me gasping. I had no idea how he was going to cope but he did better even than my expectations.

I learnt that a game I had closed my mind to for many years, could be played at a basic level which I understood.

Yes, there are international players, but in the beginning, you don’t need to make it complicated. Even a four-year-old can not only comprehend it but explain it to another child.

So next time you close your mind to something because you think it too complicated, take a second look and see if it really is. This can happen in so many areas but you can understand the basics at least even if not the more complex things. And in case you were wondering, Johnathan actually managed to bring the game to a draw.