Where It All Began

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Everyone wants their child to have an adventurous spirit – but it doesn’t always come naturally – for the child, or the parent for that matter.


… it’s a fine line between giving kids the space they need to ‘grow and learn’, and providing a safe and sound environment in which to ‘grow’ – quite the conundrum really!

I remember as a child, craving my own space and wanting nothing more than to experience the kind of adventure that wasn’t possible in the world in which we lived – the kind of ‘hero’ style adventures that I read about in books. The answer – my imagination!

Back then, I didn’t have the names, the places, or the scenes that are now set in print in “Xavier Wintersbee and the Book of Virtues”. In fact, I probably played all the characters in the story myself at one stage or another, making up names and places long since forgotten as I went. There was no jungle, no waterfalls, no caves – just my back yard!

I remember chasing my father’s truck as he drove in the empty paddock next to our house, avoiding imaginary snakes of an ‘unimaginable’ size, and jumping onto the back tray of his blue valiant, escaping the bad guys – the dog probably – just in the nick of time. There, in the suburban streets of an ‘ordinary’ town, the impatient soul of Xavier, was born.

Even defending myself against the bad guys – once again, the poor old family dog – was easy, once my parents brought back an authentic bow and arrow, with pointed tips, from a holiday cruise to Fiji (customs were a lot more lenient 37 years ago). There, most likely, the character of Toki, had his beginnings.

Some of these scenes, the rudimentary scenes of a story that would take half a lifetime to be told, I’m sure are partially captured on a soundless, Super 8, home film reel in my parent’s retirement home. Now I just need the patience to go through the box, and the 100 or so reels, to find where it all started. Or maybe, I could just take one of my boys outside and give them a gentle nudge in the right direction, and watch the process start all over again.

A true adventure starts with your imagination – and that’s accessible anywhere, anytime. It’s something that every parent can foster. Give it a try, and then stand back and watch them fly! But be patient, because like me, it may take 37 years for them to finish the story they start today.

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