History Repeats Itself
Each week for nearly five years, I drive to Indy to babysit for Jack and now for his younger brother, Owen. I hope that they enjoy the experience half as much as I do. A part of my being enamored by that involvement is watching their minds process life. It is interesting to watch them begin the walk down their yellow brick roads of life.
For example, a couple of months ago, I watched Jack carrying around a piece of paper with a picture of a maze that looked like this one.
Every once and awhile, Jack would look at the maze. Either he was attempting to work through the maze, or he was carrying it around, because he had mastered it. Nevertheless, when babysitting the following week, I brought Jack and Owen a handful of mazes for each them.
This maze is similar to the one he carried around with him.
Watching Jack and Owen working at mazes that were age-appropriate for them was fun. The following week, I ran off a bunch of connecting the dot pictures from the Internet. Again, they were enthralled. They both got pictures that were based upon connecting the dots starting with 1, 2, 3, and so on. However, Jack also got ones that were based upon 2, 4, 6, A, B, C, and a, b, c. It impressed and intrigued me to watch Jack deal with new data regarding connecting the dots, which were based upon another system. He would ask a clarifying question about the game, and then he went off to the races.
As I returned to my home in Crown Point, I recalled something that my Aunt Dot did with me as a small child about the age of Jack. She would draw a line around a sheet of paper creating random designs inside the larger figure. Then she told me to fill in the various smaller objects with different colors of my crayons. I was to pick the colors that I thought looked the best for each object. It fascinated me for hours. Nonetheless, it was not long before I was drawing my own design and then filling in the colors that I deemed desirous from my artistic mindset.
Then I remembered taking The Arts at Muskingum. It was a 10-hour class taken in either one's junior or senior year. During the second semester, each student had to create something artistic. Some students painted, sculpted, wrote poetry, or made jewelry. I decided to hook a rug based upon a design that I created.
My artistic masterpiece hangs in my garage. That part of a two-car garage is called The Garage Art Gallery. I do not charge admission to visitors that come to admire my work. In addition, visitors can see a sculpture of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who I sculpted and included it with my term paper in senior level philosophy class at Muskingum.
Finally, I remembered what Pablo Picasso said about artists, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." That comment from Picasso and my art project got me into gear. The following week, I sat down with Jack and went over his The Arts and Science textbook, which contains 50-60 paintings by famous artists.
Jack knows all of the names of the paintings and the various artists. This week, I showed him a couple of new abstract paintings, which intrigued him. Then I told Jack about what my Aunt Dot and Picasso said. Jack was off to the races again. All children want to learn and will seize that new learning experience with excitement. Tragically, as they grow up, much of that drive and excitement dissipates. Society often is the one to blame, because it wants them to conform.
Here was a child not even five who wanted to express himself.
Look at Jack's determination as he finishes his masterpiece. He has already signed it. Think about the pride that he had to sign his painting. From a psychological perspective, he is proud of what he mastered. That feeling is what Picasso wants children to possess throughout their lives. However, society will often diss the child, which causes the child to diss him or herself.
Then I suggested that Jack could do what I did when I was his age. He could draw his own design and then fill in the colors where he thought that they would look the best.
Imagine what excitement that Jack felt as he expressed his creativity. When his parents came home that evening, he was bubbling with excitement. He truly wanted to show them what he created.
Granted, this is a cute snapshot of my time with Jack. In another article, I will write about Owen's creativity. Jack and Owen's parents provide an excellent setting for them to learn. Jack and Owen live in an extremely gifted setting to explore and be excited about life as it unfolds before them. The rest of their extended family and friends provide the same environment when they are around.
Nonetheless, think about the percent of children in American or the world that have the same blessings. We all need to assist, especially all young children, as they begin the process of entering the vast yellow brick road of their lives.
We need to recall Picasso's truth about children "Every child is an artist." We need to provide a setting for their creativity that lasts throughout their lives. Additionally, we also need to heed Picasso's warning about the world as the child matures, "The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."
Visit the Connecting the Dots page to read more about this topic.