Last night my boys and I were settled, drinking tea and
reading a couple of pages from the book ‘Boy’, Roald Dahl’s story of his childhood.
Roald Dahl brought so much sparkle and intrigue into my childhood.
Of course “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” stands out, as does
“Danny Champion of the World” and the unique strangeness of his book,
“James and the Giant Peach”.
I have in turn, managed to pass the love of his writing on to my sons.
One of the stories that intrigued me from the book ‘Boy’ is a story about his father Harold.
This Norwegian and his brother Oscar ran away from their tiny village close to Oslo
to make their fortunes.
Bravely, the two decided to go to different countries as they wanted to make their fortunes separately and not rely on each other (if it had been me I’d have hung onto my brother).
One went to France, the other to Wales.
Through shear hard work and determination both men made masses of money
and developed a love for the beautiful, even though they lived far apart.
Roahl Dahl’s father had an interesting quirk,
he would take his wife on what he called the “Glorious Walks”.
The “Glorious Walks” would happen primarily during her
last three months of pregnancy (they had 4 children).
Harold Dahl’s endeavour was to find areas of particularly beauty for his wife to enjoy and admire.
His thoughts were that somehow the child in her womb would experience
the wonder through her, thereby growing up with an eye for beauty.
What a sweet, romantic and creative gesture.
This busy, shipbroker magnet also made time to carve.
He carved frames, objects and their homes magnificent mantelpiece which still stands today.
He didn’t wait for beauty to come to him, he went out to seek it,
to create it – plus he ensured that his family were included in the adventure.
My son has been drawing in his spare time.
They are the weird and wonderful drawings of a 12 year old.
He has been getting into a genre of focussing on drawing some pretty weird creatures.
His drawings are good.
The subject matter, a little dark.
Now understand me, there is nothing wrong with drawing weird creatures,
however I realised that he was not tuning into that which pleases the senses and the mind.
So I gave him the beauty challenge.
It’s easy to draw a scary face, we all can do it,
the challenge is to produce a rendering that makes a heart leap with joy.
Yesterday he came home and proudly showed me a design he’d done in his free time at school.
Now I know pleasing design when I see it and this boy had tuned in.
He’d dug a little deeper.
And as for my heart?
Yes, it felt great pleasure.
Will he still draw weird creatures?
More importantly was that I saw HIS pleasure.
I saw his opening up.
So my challenge to you today is to dig deep and tune into beauty.
It is easy to see what’s wrong with the world around you.
Maybe you need to take a “Glorious Walk”.
Maybe you need to chat to your children about the sheer joy one finds in beauty.
Turn your head.
Go out and get Roald Dahl’s book ‘Boy’ from the library.
Read it to your family.
Read it for yourself.
Know that you are creative, it is there waiting for you.
This is me, Tania Ahlfeldt and I am encouraging you to walk gloriously .
(Below is a picture of the Gypsy Caravan he bought for his children to have fun in,
he also wrote his book “Danny Champion of the World” in it.)