“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”
– Pablo Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973)
CHILDREN are running around laughing as a street artist creates huge soap bubbles above their heads. They skip out of the way of them or jump up to pop them with smiles etched permanently on their faces. For them nothing else exists but this moment of pure fun.
This was the scene that I watched on the streets of Edinburgh during the Fringe (read my write-up on the world’s biggest arts festival here) this summer.
There was creativity in the air anyway thanks to thousands of writers, actors, comedians, dancers and other performers descending on the city which sits in the middle of rolling hills.
But it was perhaps nowhere more alive than in these children whose hearts were brimming with joy for the fun they were engaged in.
Creativity emanates from children. They truly know how to live.
For them the past and the future do not exist – only the now. They know no fear. They make the best of what they have. Their enthusiasm knows no bounds, nor does their imagination. They are bundles of energy operating on a high frequency. They love unconditionally. They let go. A smile is never usually far away.
When I was a kid I used to love to get on my bike and cycle with friends into the nearby countryside to climb trees and play on rope swings at the side of streams. Pretty much nothing could be finer except perhaps returning home to find butterscotch Angel Delight was for dessert.
So it’s disheartening to hear that large numbers of children in Britain aren’t connected to nature.
A new study by the RSPB found that only 21% of children between eight and 12 are exposed to the outdoors.
The charity’s head of conservation Sue Armstrong-Brow told the BBC that spoilsport adults were dampening children’s natural curiosity and love of nature.
She said: “There is definitely an attitude out there, in some cases, that nature is not perceived as interesting or engaging.
“In some cases it is perceived as a dirty or unsafe thing, and that’s an attitude that won’t help a young person climb a tree.”
She continued: “If we can grow a generation of children that have a connection to nature and do feel a sense of oneness with it, we then have the force for the future that can save nature and stop us living in a world where nature is declining.”
Nature is all about the creative force and it is that force that is inherently powerful in children and should be encouraged.
If that is lost then what hope is there?
For the children dancing in the bubbles in Edinburgh, where the magnificent greenery of Arthur’s Seat rises proudly in the distance, the force of nature is strong.
* If you’ve enjoyed reading this, please spend one day this month immersing yourself in and appreciating nature.