It seems hard to believe that over a year ago our lives changed so dramatically. But as we approach the one year anniversary of the first lockdown it is a good time to reflect on the positives over the last year. I recently took part in an internal discussion Lockdown Stories where I shared with our Northern business how me, Kate and the family had taken up drawing.
To set the scene, as a proud husband of an amazing respiratory physiotherapist I was not at all prepared for what March 2020 would bring. Family life had always been a little bit of juggling as explained in my blog Planes, trains and swimming lessons with both me and Kate splitting the responsibilities of school, after school clubs and other children based activities. Alongside this we had the support of parents. And then 17 March 2020, schools closed and parents began shielding. Life changed.
I think in an arrogant way the first thought was we’d just replicate school. Have a set timetable, work through the worksheets – I mean how hard could it be to teach a 7 and a 9 year old. The answer was hard! Firstly, the environment in which the children are used to learning is a school. Not a house filled with their toys and electronic devices. Secondly, their teacher gives them (hopefully) 100% attention. I was trying to navigate onsite auditing to remote working and the large complications of auditing during a pandemic. Needless to say it wasn’t made easier. So the approach was wrong at the start but I’m stubborn. I could make it work. After about two weeks the constant arguing, battling and tears finally broke me.
As a family we needed to do something. Kate needed to have some form of relaxation time in between shifts. I needed space to do my job while also guiding the learning. So we made the day more flexible with rewards for different targets being met. For example, do maths and english and you can have a mid-morning snack. And so forth. Throughout all the chaos though I came across an online drawing class. I’d never even considered drawing as something for us to do but in the interest of trying something new, ticking the art box for school and using up some of the hundreds of crayons we have we gave it a go. It changed our lives.
Into our lives entered Draw with Rob Biddulph – an author and illustrator. Regular online drawing videos ranging from animals to vehicles and people. We gave it ago. The first session was a little tense. Euan got frustrated with a shape but it then became clear that Rob was used to this. Reassuring words from the computer that a smudge, missed line or odd shape didn’t matter – in fact he encouraged it. So off we went. Dinosaurs, elephants, whales! You name it we probably did it. Thirty minutes of our day just drawing away. Splashing colour and creating names. A new family bond.
Looking back now we have drawn over 300 times. We have covered Rob and expanded into Disney Masterclasses and other online tutorials.
This allowed us one thing as a family – it wasn’t TV or an i-Pad or an X-Box. Yes we were looking at a screen but simply to observe the steps of the drawing process. Some lasting memories have been made from this. Euan had the idea of decorating our playroom with the pictures and as you can see they have now taken over all the walls – a reminder of our year in Lockdown!