Covid and Creativity
At the end of the 151st day of home-schooling I want to talk briefly about the impact of social distancing and a virtual lockdown on creativity. Whilst you might imagine that I've been inspired to write a story about a disease that threatens the world or some other similar armageddon-type narrative, that's not the kind of inspiration I want to talk about.
Instead, I'm talking about the kind of creativity that people are demonstrating to try to maintain their social links. I originally created my 'Travels With My Tearaway' Facebook page as a way of keeping my mum informed about what I was getting up to with my youngest son. This is because I'm utterly rubbish at keeping in touch with people outside of social media and this was a way of making sure she saw photos and updates more regularly. The last week has seen similar unusual ideas brought to the fore.
Joe Wicks has been keeping the nation's children fit (we did 2 days with him and then have spent 3 days gardening, but will be back with him on Monday!) via his YouTube channel, chefs are providing online cooking lessons, parents are sharing craft and activity ideas to try to help each other survive home schooling, dance lessons are being conducted online and even my book group got involved by conducting our end of month meeting via an online meeting platform. Even my technophobe Mum and in-laws have got in on the act, using Skype and FaceTime (pretty much for the first time ever) so that they can see their grandchildren. Locally, many windows have rainbows and either seahorses or starfish in the windows (the rainbows are a national thing, the sea creatures are linked to our pre-school to identify which room they are in).
My eldest is an anti-social teenager at the best of times, so hasn't found the lockdown particularly difficult so far, other than being worried about us getting ill and is quite happily completing his schoolwork at home. The youngest however, is in his final year of pre-school and we, like many other parents in the same situation, were quite worried that he would lose contact with his friends, as obviously we can't have play dates as that defeats the purpose of the schools being closed! However, one of the mums had the brilliant idea of setting up a WhatsApp group so that we could keep in touch with each other, but also so that we could share photos and videos with our children so they can send messages to their friends and see what their friends are doing while we're all in isolation.
I've been trying to think of what I could do, using my writing ability, to help keep the kids connected. At 3am this morning while I was lying awake after a particularly bad dream, it came to me. I jotted down a short story. I then spent this morning with my son, taking photos, recording videos and using video editing software to create a little video story. To involve his friends, I got their mums to record them saying lines and send me the videos, which I then put into one video and shared it on the group. Not only did the kids involved love it, but other children shared their own videos linked to the story. I've now agreed to write some more so that other children can get involved as well. Helping me to do this also inspired him to make up his own story and 'read' it to his Witch teddy.
I may not have been inspired to write my magnum opus, but if my little stories do anything to cheer up a group of 4 year olds who are missing their friends, then they are worth every second they take to create.