recent comment that adult colouring books can get lost.
I've seen enough TV cop shows to know that one way to make a youngster open up is to sit and do something creative with him in a non-threatening environment. Occasionally the child will come up trumps and draw a picture of Mummy hitting Daddy with a frying-pan; more often, it is simply an opportunity for him to open up about feelings and perhaps uncover a long-forgotten memory.
I've always enjoyed colouring. It was one of my go-to pastimes on rainy days when I was little and even as an adult I've kept my crayons handy since before it was trendy - and long before I was aware of mandalas. A mandala is a spiritual or ritual symbol: a geometric shape that represents the universe, traditionally consisting of a square with four gates containing a circle with a centre point. It is used for focusing attention, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation. The essence of a mandala is in the act of its creation.
When we covered creating mandalas on my teaching diploma course, I was
surprised how emotional it made me. Actually, it made me quite teary and I had
to stop. I can't say the same happens when I'm shading in a
multicoloured fish, but I do find it calming and it frees up my mind to
go off on all sorts of unexpected tangents. In the spirit of the mandala, I don't keep my pictures once they are finished. Sometimes it's tempting to pin them up on the fridge, but then I remember I'm not a toddler.
If you've never tried creating a mandala (or you can't remember the last time you spent some time with your Crayola set), might I suggest you give it a whirl?