Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Boys in Flight - How to raise a child without crash landing! (Travelling work stations #3)

Sacha, 4 and Luca, 7, Perth:  Is it a bird...is it a plane...?
The summer holidays are in full swing here and the boys run by me in joyous voice. Everything not stuck down in the house becomes fodder for flight and I alternately celebrate the chaos and duck for cover. The only things that quiet them for a moment (apart from Mario, Luigi and food) are paint...and glue!   

Jack, 10, Perth
Ongoing series of birds on a mission.
I am all for well behaved kids (and the calm of boys concentrating at a less than whirlwind speed is indeed a sizeable joy!), but I don't subscribe to the parenting outlined in Amy Chua's article in The Wall Street Journal, that has been circulating facebook and several blogs including The Rachel Papers this week. The article  features a list of what her girls were 'not allowed to do', including shock, horror; ever be in a school play!   They also were not allowed any choice in their extra-curricular activities, which would certainly raise a mutiny in our house;  My husband is a soccer-mad Italian as is our youngest son (and we support his 'madness'!), our firstborn however, eventually said to his Dad on repeated requests to join them in the game "Dad, I'm just not a sporty kind of person, and on the weekends I just want to have a peaceful morning!" (age 7) Well, we laughed. And he has never joined up. There is a different path for him and we love being here for him, with him, watching with wonder while he figures out how, and where, to fly.
Ben, 5, Sydney
Bird at the tip of the tallest tree.
I feel it's our job as parents to provide creative and flexible 'workstations' in the world for kids to land and find their way. And, of course, this includes making choices for them as well. The ability however, to respond to the contemporary world from a point of personal interest and passion as a young person is most vital in raising a generation with the social skills and conscience, empathy and compassion to make affecting choices on both the small and world stage (long live the school play!). Here at BIG we're showcasing the work of all kids, flying their work into the world by the side of a practicing artist and landing it open on the playroom/studio floor amid the chaos, thinking, quiet, work and play of the everyday. BIG will be for the falcons, the gliders and the waterbirds.


  1. Posted by Jo! Lilly has run away with the circus for a few days ;)

  2. Just found your blog - amazing! Looking forward to sharing it with my kids and dreaming up some birds.

  3. Thanks Karen! I've just had a look at your site and loved the reminder of the awesome kids books I plan to search for again. We very much look forward to your 'Earthly' birds landing here at BIG!


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