17 years ago Kiel and I backpacked through Europe for 3 months, spending 1 month in Italy. We loved everything about it…the art, the food, the people, the architecture, the gelato! We have a very distinct memory coming out of the train station in Rome and seeing a family of 4 backpacking with their two young kids. We looked at them and said…”I hope that’s us one day”!
Well, in October we are flying with 3 kids (ages 8, 5 and 1) to backpack for 3 months to explore one of our favourite countries in the world, staying for a longer period in the City we named our youngest son after (Lucca)! Today is moving day to our temporary home in Rockwood before we leave in October to research our art, homeschool our kids and explore a country we fell in love with 17 years ago! Some people think we are crazy for taking 3 young kids backpacking but this is the sort of thing that lights our souls on fire and fuels who we are.
You can always find an excuse not to do something. There is always going to be a reason to push something as big as this off another month or year. There’s never a good time and always an excuse...to wait until the right number hits your savings account, or the kids are big enough, or hope to go when you retire. But life is unpredictable and tomorrow is never promised. With each year that passes, we felt the urge to make our dream a reality. We didn’t want to look back on our lives when our kids have grown up, moved out and onwards and wish we would have gone, done more with them while we could, and push off doing adventurous things until it was the ‘perfect time’. There is no such thing. The time you have is now and now is the time to say yes. To do something outside of the box, say yes to things you're passionate about, and take the road less travelled.
We hope you will follow along our journey and that our story inspires you to look at the beauty this life has to offer and say yes to things that light up your soul and warms your heart. Because at the end of the day, it's about having courage to do the things you love and are passionate about while being kind and having fun along the way!
...without using your thumbs or uttering those two words…good job!
I’m definitely guilty of the ‘thumbs up’ and ‘good job’ more times then I would like to admit, but I am making a conscious effort to change the words I use with my children, especially in relation to their efforts, creations and learning. Today we are hosting a PD Day Art Camp for kids in the Studio and I thought about an article I had read months ago about how to respond to your childs art. I also thought about our teacher training, which focused on encouraging learning and next steps. So for those parents whose kids are in art camps, or kids who bring home art from school or create art at home, or for those aunts and uncles or grandparents who get that special drawing from a little one, and don’t know how to respond without a 'thumbs up' or a 'good job', I have put together my fav top five suggestions from my readings of how to respond to art…
So the next time your child shows you their art, try some of these tips to help you avoid the thumbs up and good job. Not that either of those are necessarily bad, they just aren't great. It's kind of like a pat on the back. The child has your approval but there wasn't further learning for them or inquiry/interest from you. Responding in these ways will help you to celebrate your child’s creative efforts, encourage their learning journey and shows that you are genuinely interested in what they are doing. For more information and further tips, check out this article on the Globe and Mail, written by artist and art therapist, Sarah Teitel.
Thanks for reading!