Walter’s First Canvas

Walter looked at the blank canvas in front of him. He had all the colours he wanted so he dipped his hand into the green. Dragging his hand across the white surface, he’d created a whole landscape already. Walter carried on, adding curious cows, fluffy clouds, hills, old fashioned motor cars, rockets, giant swings, dinosaurs carrying suitcases…

Walter’s mum sat a few metres away watching him. His eyes were firmly fixed on the painting in front of him, he didn’t look up or talk. He carried on adding to the colours, the patterns and shapes. Walter’s dad got home. Before he could reach Walter to kiss him, Walter’s mum stopped him. Walter didn’t notice the change in the room, he was doing his painting and watching as the colours merged together. He was transfixed. When he’d finished he stepped away, beaming and with nothing more to add. It was perfect

The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi came up with a term for being totally engrossed in something you are doing – he called this state of mind ‘flow’ – “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” Walter, being less than 3, can already be totally engrossed in his painting. He created something that his parents were so proud of, his first work of art. But this work of art wouldn’t be sold; it would be celebrated – it was a display of his blossoming imagination, his creative spark and his ability to find flow – to be happy in what he was doing at that exact moment. It was a beautiful moment for his parents to see.

I believe the ability to move into this state of flow develops when we are children and exactly in the creative moments just like the one Walter was experiencing.

At Glow, our classes take a flexible format which allows children to discover the activities they love where they can find their moments of flow. And it’s in these moments, I believe, that we find happiness. Come and find your flow with Glow!

By Tilda Stickley, Education Consultant and Head of Curriculum Development at Glow


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