All fans of Red Ted Art are likely to understand the joy that comes from being creative with your children.
You are, however, doing more than having fun. You are also helping them to hone their skills and their love of making things. You are encouraging them to follow their own initiative while, at the same time, building their self-belief and confidence.
And, who knows, you may also helping them towards a future career.
I have just written a book ‘Creative, Successful, Dyslexic’ which explores the stories of 23 high profile personalities, including photographer David Bailey, interior designer Kelly Hoppen and product designer Sophie Conran.
All struggled at school because of their dyslexia, but after school found a way to shine in their careers. Many say it was the support of one adult – often a parent or a teacher – that gave them the confidence to keep believing in themselves and build a bright future.
I decided to write the book after finding out, when she was 13, that my daughter was dyslexic. The diagnosis was a big shock too us as she had achieved well at primary school and no one else in the family had struggled with their education. I wanted to show Lorrie that she could still pursue the path she wanted in life and thought the examples of the high profile individuals in the book would encourage her to do that.
I learnt many lessons while interviewing and writing – lessons which are useful to all of us, not just those with dyslexia. David Bailey told me, “I love mistakes. Mistakes send you somewhere else. If something goes wrong I use that mistake, I twist it around to make the most of what’s there. A lot of art is based on a mistake.”
This is a great premise for all our children as they get down and dirty with their paints and their clay.
Kelly Hoppen found learning at school tough – so she taught herself what she needed to know at home. “My parents would go out, come back and I would have moved a wardrobe,” she says. “If we stayed in a hotel I would shift everything around in the room. I always knew what ‘worked’. It probably drove them mad!”
Meanwhile Sophie Conran says growing up in a visual household was what made all the difference to her. “There was often talk about design,” she remembers. “We looked at different products and appreciated their colour, form and function. I learned what makes a great atmosphere. I felt at the heart of everything that was going on at home.”
We can’t all have the expertise of Sophie’s father, designer and businessman Sir Terence Conran, nor her mother cookery writer Caroline Conran, but we can discuss our thoughts and ideas about design with our children. We can help them have fun as they experiment. We can show them that mistakes can take us to amazing places if we let them.
Education today is results driven – from SATS, to GCSEs to A levels and beyond. Not everyone will achieve the grades they want at school, but this book shows that creativity can lead us on a fascinating and successful journey in life. A great lesson for all of us.
Creative, Successful, Dyslexic
23 High Achievers Share Their Stories
By Margaret Rooke, foreword by Mollie King
Available in Waterstones, independent book shops, online via Amazon, Dyslexia Action, Jessica Kingsley Publishers and other channels. £16.99