Colouring outside the lines


Vivienne is five. She doesn’t like to admit that. She usually convinces people that she is older than she actually is. She seems older. The five year old age barrier annoys her. You may be familiar with these type of people; a boundary is something to get close to and then jump right over. At the swimming pool there is no cautious saunter to the edge and testing the water to see how cold it is, or isn’t.

No… Viv isn’t one to dip her toes in.

Viv loves immersing herself in the world outside the lines. Sometimes when I consider her, I wonder where my own fearlessness got lost. I like to think that there is some of me in her, seeing the limitations and then pushing right through them.

We took the training wheels off her bike several months ago now and true to form she took off without a care in the world; the wind in her face and empowered with her new found freedom. Of course, stopping and breaking is another skill to be learnt, this is lesson still to be learnt by most boundary breakers.

So…Viv tends to rides as fast as her little legs will push her and approaches various objects and obstacles at speed. We stand and wait anxiously for something to stop her in her tracks. Last time she crashed into the fence and clung fiercely to the wire with the wildest grin on her adorable face. We all start breathing again. Viv literally takes our breath away – a lot.

We are not sure how she will go at big school next year. Actually, our main concern is how will big school go with Vivienne? She has never been shy of telling us exactly what she wants or for that matter what she thinks. Earlier this week I asked her about going to school next year. Her response; “I don’t want to go to school. I don’t go so well inside the lines.”

Creativity is so curious in our institutions. We want our children to be creative, the institution wants them to colour inside the lines. When we institutionalise creativity, we draw lines to be coloured inside of; culturally defining imagination and responsiveness. Borders confine the white space that would otherwise be the blank canvass of our self-expression.

“Don’t worry about the lines Viv.” I replied. “Learning to colour your own way is what really matters.”

In the hive our team are encouraged to colour outside the lines. Innovation and responsiveness are celebrated. Boundary breaking is fostered, stopping – well stopping is still being learnt by some, me perhaps more than others.

We hope this week you can be a little more fearless and encourage yourself and the little people around you to colour outside the lines. Look out for those black borders that hinder creativity and just go colouring right over them.