Julien Honour-DeCap has been painting birdhouses to keep busy while practising social isolation. (Facebook)

Painting birdhouses in lieu of boredom

Elementary school student finds new hobby for entertainment while away from school

By all accounts, spending spring break at Julien Honour-DeCap’s Nana’s house up the North Fork sounds like fun. You can bike, hike, play with the dogs or sometimes on your phone, but, like most likely all other Grade 5 students, Honour-DeCap gets bored. So, one day when his Nana was in town collecting groceries and they’d realized that they may well be stuck away, thanks to social isolation, for longer than maybe was planned, she picked up a couple extra things.

“She brought back some birdhouses and then was like, ‘Here, for when you get board,’” Honour-DeCap laughed.

It didn’t take long.

“Later that day,” Honour-DeCap laughs, “I was like, ‘You know what? I’m bored.’”

Honour-DeCap is leaning into the principles espoused by B.C.’s provincial health officer, recognizing that social distance, though not particularly fun in and of itself, is necessary for the community to get through. In the meantime, he’s found painting birdhouses to be a suitable distraction from the noise.

“I just like how you get to design and craft your own thing,” he said about his projects. “I just think it’s fun to paint because it’s just nice and relaxing instead of looking at a screen all day.”

Though he may be a year older (12) and a grade higher (Grade 7) when schools get back in session next September (assuming students don’t sit in classrooms before the end of the scheduled school year), Honour-DeCap’s classroom hobby of doodling translates well to planning the designs on his birdhouses.

“I just enjoy drawing because it’s just calming for me,” he explained. It’s also a good option for other, fellow bored people he said.

“If someone is bored and they have a hidden talent that they don’t know and they want to try drawing or they can paint or they can do a lot of other things that don’t involve a screen,” he said. Through practice, Honour-DeCap said, he’s seen his own talents grow.

“Not very long ago, I was painting a small birdhouse,” he recalled. Enthusiastic, he jumped in and started painting, only to find the materials were making a mess. He learned from his Nana – who paints and sells signs – that painter’s tape would become his best friend.

“It’s nice having someone who’s painted a lot before so that way I know what brushes to use for certain spaces,” Honour-DeCap said of his Nana.

It’s also nice to have developed a hobby to enjoy in the long run. When Honour-DeCap heard on the morning news that school might not be coming back for a little while, “I was like, ‘Yay!’ he recalled. “‘I don’t have to go back to school after spring break […] And then I was like, ‘What am I going to do?’”

Painting birdhouses might just hatch other ideas for Honour-DeCap as spring moves along too.


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