“The world of achievement has always belonged to the optimist.” — J. Harold Wilkins
I read this today and I believe it. It is only when I am totally dedicated to a cause that it happens. Perhaps it is different for other people, but just plowing through a project rarely gets me the results I want. Sometimes I have to hook myself into it first and then the flow starts to occur. I really love it when it happens, almost by accident. Remember when you were a kid and playing with your dolls or little army men? It felt like another world had been entered! I wonder if kids still get there? Sometimes the environment is so set up already – like in a video game. Where is the room for creation?
I have seen small kids play for hours with a big cardboard box. I recreated this “game” with a group of 8 boys, 6-11 years old and 2 girls. I provided 6 big boxes and a bunch of stuff – like old gears, and magazines, and pipe cleaners, and old computer boards, etc. I told them they were going to build a time machine! I explained the importance of imagination and how the computers and cars and even their refrigerator would not have existed without some one imagining them into being.
I was actually able to get them to leave their computer games and get engaged! It was a delight to see them work in teams to make “viewing panels” out of cut out magazine images and figure out placement for windows and doors and “control panels” out of old keyboards to launch their time machine. They “believed” in what they were doing. Later they did go on some time journeys which they scripted and enacted while I video taped them. It was a magical moment. The teachers said that the kids played and built more on to their machine even when I wasn’t there. They took over the project as their own.
I learn so much from working with kids. They really inspire me and remind me of what is possible.
I kinda got off the original topic in a way, but I guess what I was getting at is that, being positive and optimistic about what I am doing, goes a long way to helping a project be the best it can be.
By the way, if anyone is looking for a kids’ art teacher, I’m available! Just write a comment to this blog.