Friday, 22 April 2011

Famous Five Friday

I am quite amused to see that, currently, my top 3 labels are "achievement", "balance" and "positivity". Those 3 things are certainly on my mind a lot at the moment. However I'd like to throw another one into the mix, one that hasn't yet made an overt appearance, and it can be loosely described as "order" (think Betty Boothroyd) though in fact it covers myriad similitudes, from plain tidiness to good manners.

Perhaps it is because I am so naturally laissez-faire, not to mention a little lazy and a lot free spirited, that I find myself instinctively drawn to the sense of "order" when I am feeling overwhelmed. To get back on top of things I feel I need to pull my socks up and organise everything; it reflects my state of mind, and if things are cluttered and untidy then I am too. A healthy environment makes for a healthy mind.

This is the doctrine behind much of Enid Blyton's work, and it's obvious that this was a reflection, not just of the times, but also her own psychological troubles. However it is the Brent-Dyer Chalet School books that sum it up for me at the moment, where every girl is expected to have impeccable manners, always look tidy and respectable (and keep her possessions and cubicle the same), to uphold strong morals and generally be an all-round upstanding, friendly and charitable person:
"the character trait held up by the books as being the one most desirable is 'to think of others', although this trait does not necessarily include self-sacrifice. Brent-Dyer introduces this theme in the series in relation to pupils behaving charitably towards those less fortunate than themselves..." - Ju Gosling's The World of the Chalet School
This resonates so strongly with me, not least because I strive to be more community-minded myself (though it's hard to remember sometimes - especially when the 55th boat of the day has passed us at great speed, music blaring and folk peering in our windows!

Like so much in my life it all comes back to a finely tuned sense of balance. Whilst we should do our utmost to think of others, we must not forget ourselves; whilst it's good to be tidy and ordered, this shouldn't be at the expense of creativity and freedom of thought.

One thing is for certain. Our kids may be growing up as free-spirited tearaways, living as water gypsies in hand-me-down and makeshift clothes. But they will also be brought up to be kind, thoughtful, loving and well-mannered. Tidy would be a bonus but if it's a toss up between that and having happy-go-lucky creative kids, I can settle for tidy at times, much like myself...

And just so you know, I started writing this before I lost the boat keys...

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