Sunday, 2 October 2011

Colouring Inside the Lines. Or Not.

The other day, while Hudson and I were in hospital (Hudson with a broken arm waiting for an operation, me being the parent who stayed with him), I let Hudson play on my iPhone. The only things on my phone that the kids (and I) have to play with are word games, arty type things and photo fun things* so I introduced Hudson to Wreck This Journal app.

A while ago now a friend of mine, my twin-who's-not-my-twin, gave me Keri Smith's Wreck This Journal. Because we think alike, my twin-who's-not-my-twin thought that I would like it. And indeed I do. I haven't finished wrecking it yet. Actually, it might be some time before I do, although I am looking forward to dragging it around on a string one day, and taking it in the shower with me. :)

Because I enjoyed Wreck This Journal so much I decided to get the Wreck This Journal app for my iPhone. Now there's a great app!

It just so happened that the page that Hudson went into was 'Colour outside the lines'. Hudson was busy colouring furiously (as furiously as one can with a finger on a screen!) all over the page, inside and out of the lines, with gay abandon, when the nurse came along and exclaimed with such surprise "That's not colouring inside the lines!!!" She had a smiling tone of voice that suggested that Hudson was being terribly naughty, but in a nice way.

Hudson quietly continued, unperturbed - he has never heard the rule about colouring inside the lines. I smirked a quiet smirk and started writing this blog post in my head.

I don't know whether it is good to encourage a child to colour inside the lines or not and I am not sure that I really care either. I'm pretty sure that a child colouring in happily, inside the lines or not, is a good thing. The general consensus between people who like to colour outside the lines, or at least don't like to be told to colour inside the lines, is that it is to do with conformity - doing what the government says, what the teacher says, what the boss says. With this conformity comes a bit of security but at the same time you risk losing your ability to think critically, to take calculated risks, or to pursue your dreams and aspirations.

What is colouring in for, anyway? Well for me it is for fun. It makes me happy. I like colouring in and I must say I do like colouring inside the lines most of the time. But there are times now that I actually don't mind relaxing a bit and realising that the lines are just there as guides rather than rigid, uncross-able boundaries - going outside the lines is no big deal and not worth fretting about.

If I am going to conform to anything I will take up the challenge of the Apostle Paul when he wrote
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.Romans 12:2

Do you like colouring in?
There are plenty of places to find great colouring in pages - here's one example.

What do you think about the rule of colouring within the lines?

*one day I'll get a sudoku app and other number games. Any suggestions?

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