Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Inside The Lines

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Here are a few of Paprika's recent drawings. The first one is of her with three of her friends at school. The second drawing is of her dancing with two of her friends in ballet class.

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A little thing I've been mulling over lately is (and I know this sounds silly)- is coloring inside the lines. You know, coloring. Like in coloring books.

It seems like everyone Paprika's age now is coloring. But we don't color in our house. I give her white paper and crayons, and she draws. We have coloring books, but I have never told Paprika to color inside the lines. And it's never occured to her to do so. She draws on top of the drawings in the coloring books.

I know she could color inside the lines if she wanted to. But part of me feels like it's going to stifle her creativity...you know, to color in someone else's drawing instead of making her own.

But then she'll probably go to school and the other kids will be coloring inside the lines, and someone will make fun of her for "scribbling on the page" and I'll feel terrible for not preparing her to conform.

Either way, I can't win!

It's not just about coloring, of course. It's about a lot of the things I do as her parent, and the ways that I shield her from "the real world." Part of me wants to grow her creativity, and let her imagine her own world, full of possibility and wonder. The other part wants to shield her from pain, from being ridiculed, from being different than other kids.

I value difference, but I know other kids are not so forgiving. So, this morning, I am mulling over...should I teach her to color, but let her know that drawing is better? Should I just let her draw and forget to mention about coloring inside the lines?

I keep telling myself, she is only three. Let her be three. Let her enjoy making her own drawings and composing her own music. Let her listen to the creative force inside herself and feel the joy of self-expression. Let her enjoy the process of creating from her own imagination, and hopefully she will never let that go...even IF she does eventually learn to color inside the lines.

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8 comments:

Sarah said...

Definitely don't make her color inside the lines! If she's going to a school that encourages her to color inside the lines, maybe she needs to go to a different school!

I've been contemplating a lot of these things myself lately. It think as we send our kids out on their own to be individuals without us around, we hope that we have instilled in them the skills to cope in the social realm. I'd love to chat some time!

Cristy said...

I know this post was mainly about coloring, but I just wanted to tell you how much I loved the picture of your beautiful daughters playing piano. I started lessons when I was 4 years old and it is such a huge part of my life: I even ended up minoring in music in college. Keep that up with them...they'll thank you some day! You can only play sports for so long, but piano you can do forever. It's a wonderful hobby and passion.

Crystalyn said...

Coloring books in my developmental preschool education are the devil. I hide them until they get bigger in most cases. They aren't allowed in the classrooms at the best places I taught at until they were in Kindergarten. For my kids, I buy the anticoloring books. You can find them on Amazon or the scribbles series.

Even in prek, I never met any kids who really liked to color in a coloring book. They preferred a blank paper where they could do their own. If you want to shield her, find a school that is just as creative as you'll are. You are a great mamma and your bringing her up brilliantly. This world needs more creative moms and dads and more children who don't fit into a box.

Sheila said...

Drawing is drawing and coloring someone elses art work is different. I'd let her look at the coloring book section of the store the next time you are there and see if she's even interested in them. Buy two books, tear one page out for her and one for you when Ginger Sunshine is napping and you do them together. Discuss the colors she's choosing,things about the subject, you know ... conversation. Then you take the lead demonstrating how to stay in the lines on one object.Encourage her to follow. It's a game and is suppose to be FUN! With her eye for color and design you may feel inferior. Ha! Let her then teach you something about the page and you follow her lead. Keep both pieces of artwork and don't forget to make your Mommy notes to share with her once she is an accomplished artist. You were the first to recognize her genius.

FourJedis said...

I agree- let her do her thing. There will be so many people through life telling her to do this and do that, but this is her time to shine and be who she is without any outward influence. You're doing a great job!

Belinda said...

We use blank paper too. I heard with colouring books they only use one motion which is to shade within the lines vs using a sheet of blank paper where they do zig zags, lines, dots, circles etc etc. and use way more motions than just filling in, I love her her drawings! I think they are beautiful :)

ryansmom said...

I love Paprika's pictures. I wouldn't worry about the coloring too much now but unfortunately most public schools will require your child to be able to color within the lines. I think you can teach her that sometimes she will need to color within the lines. Model for her how to do it and color together. At the same time keep fostering her own creativity by encouraging her to draw and color her own pictures.
Also congrats on your Kindle. I'm going to check out the books you recommended. Thanks.

Brenna said...

Look at that ballet class drawing! There's real movement there, energy and color. Now THAT's art! Keep it up, mama. You know what you're doing. :)