6 things you don’t have to be ‘good’ at to love doing
Hands up if you remember being told at school that you weren’t good at something? Or feeling like you don’t belong in a certain club or team, or shouldn’t give something a go because others were way better at it?
A mum’s tweet yesterday – about her six-year-old daughter being told at her after school art club that she’d done her painting ‘wrong’ – seems to have struck a chord.
Gemma Leighton tweeted a snap of her daughter’s painting – a wonderful, colourful, tree-filled scene – along with the caption: “My 6 year old daughter painted this amazing scene at an after school art club. Her art teacher told her she had done it wrong?! You can’t do art wrong! She was so upset as art is her favourite thing to do. Can you please show Edie some support and like her painting?”
The tweet’s attracted over 75k ‘likes’ and counting, plus countless replies – including a show of support from artist Grayson Perry, who “loves” it.
Whether art can be ‘wrong’ is one thing – but isn’t it a shame to think about all the things we might miss out on in life, or we’re put off trying, because we’re told we’re not ‘good’ at them? These messages we get as kids can stick with us.
Recognising and nurturing talent is important too, of course, and a healthy dose of competition and learning to deal with failure can be a good thing. Encouraging youngsters (and adults!) to embrace things for sheer love and enjoyment is also important, though – especially when they’re things that can really enrich our lives and boost our wellbeing…
1. Sports and fitness
Still shudder at the memory of PE lessons? If you were always picked last for teams, frequently yelled at for being slow and only remember being shoved and shamed on the hockey pitch, it’s little wonder sports and fitness can lose their appeal.
Being active is one of the single greatest things we can do for our health though – physically and mentally – not to mention the joy and fun it brings. Wouldn’t it be great if we all learned that from day one?2. SwimmingYes, technically this is part of sports and fitness – but swimming has extra benefits, so it’s worthy of its own mention.
Firstly, it’s a life skill that could prevent drowning. Secondly, it means you get to enjoy water, which is pretty darn wonderful. Thirdly, it can be really great for nurturing healthy body image and normalising being surrounded by different body shapes and sizes. Who cares if you’re in the fast, medium or slow lane?
We all know people who’ve identified as ‘bad’ cooks and therefore don’t do it. Fair enough if it’s just really not your thing – but could it be a lack of confidence standing in your way? Cooking from scratch and experimenting with recipes can be so rewarding, plus the process can be incredibly mindful and relaxing, and it can open up a whole world of discovery and enjoyment.
Some people are blessed with beautiful singing voices, some people are tone deaf! But if belting out songs makes you feel amazing, who says you can’t still enjoy it? Singing can have similar brain chemistry-boosting effects to exercise.
Obviously, we’re not saying abandon all quality control for record deals and choirs. But there are lots of community choirs where the focus is on the fun and feelgood factor, and there’s always karaoke!
Can’t dance? Two left feet? That might be the case, but does moving your body to music light up your soul? Remove the embarrassment and fear of getting the steps wrong and there’s all kinds of magic that can happen when we dance – and everybody’s welcome!
6. WritingLots of adults are put off writing due to shame, whether that’s because their spelling and grammar isn’t great, they were told their handwriting’s messy, or it takes them a while to put pen to paper.
Like art though, writing has so many practical and personal benefits – an avenue for self-expression, communication and creativity, for starters. We wouldn’t go around shaming each other for being a bit rubbish at science, so why is it acceptable to openly shame poor spelling? Pipe down, grammar police.