When I was a kid, I loved to hang out at family parties, play sports, loved school and my friends but sometimes the world was a little too much. I escaped into the world of books when I needed to get away. Eventually, I set up a reading “nest” inside of my closet, complete with stacks of books, several over-stuffed pillows, blankets, a flashlight and snacks. I could have lived in that closet over summer break and during winter snow storms when a snow day was declared. That “nest” was my sanctuary.
With the bombardment of media, the faster pace of modern life and the increasing demand for children to produce excellent work and achieve at higher standards, I see my music students melting down. They either break down in tears over the smallest mistake or they just begin to do everything half way, just to get through the day. There is an overwhelming need for sanctuary.
When my children were young, something inspired me to paint murals and scenes from their favorite books on to their bedroom walls. It is a memory they still have as young adults. I felt as though surrounding them with their favorite characters and scenes that inspired their imagination could make them feel safe. While adults may go into their study, a sewing room, a music studio, a library or a pub, children need a place to escape to when school and family have demanded the better of them.
Why A Mural?
A mural is silent. It doesn’t move when you touch it, like an iPad or a video game. It is a gentle reminder of a favorite feeling or place in one’s imagination without the words of a story being read aloud. It is a place where a child can relax without overstimulation.
Accompanying a mural may be a futon, a small tent, a comfortable chair and lamp or a shelf of books or art supplies. Some adults take to the sanctitude of camping leaving technology behind to recharge themselves. What if you were a child and didn’t have the ability to leave home? Where can your child go, away from the noise and flashing lights of a screen to calm down? A mural may be a good beginning.