hoedls haven
Where Nature is the source of all artistic expression

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

There an old adage that states, "We could learn a lot from crayons: Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box."

In my household, we are at that developmental stage where I have to continually tell Emily, Hannah and Nicholas, "Don't take the wrapper off the crayons." Hannah does it simply because the other two are tearing off the crayon wrappers. Nicholas does it, I think, just to be a little stinker. But it's Emily that just can't seem to understand why the crayon should have a label. She takes her time, methodically removes the wrapper, and puts it neatly on the table next to her. When I say, "Please don't take the wrapper off the crayons, Emmie," she'll look at me with those sad and big blue eyes and ask, "But why, Daddy?" My best answer? Because it's the wrapper that gives the crayon extra strength from breaking (plus, it's less for me to clean up).

It was when I was re-re--re-reminding the children about crayon wrappers and their proper place this past week, when I remembered the adage above: "... all different colors, but they all have to live in the same box."

Labels and colors - how much we have used both to define and defile one another throughout history. Once we've labeled whatever and whomever it is, it allows us to either embrace it or avoid it. Label the event or color the experience - now that we've given it a name, we can now fit it into a convenient category and treat it accordingly... capitalist, communist, marxist., african american, caucasian, hispanic, male, female, night, day... pink, purple and blue... "my favorite..."

Children are such wonderful and powerful teachers. We often miss the lessons as we're so busy trying to "teach" them. In this situation with our triplets, "drawing time" happens most every day. Tupperware containers full of markers, colors, colored pencils, stencils, stickers, notebooks and coloring books are put on the kitchen table. The table on which we eat turns into a feast of imagine and ideas each morning, a smorgasbord of "Look at what I can draw, Daddy!"

And when it comes to colors, Emily, Nicholas and Hannah - although they can identify colors by name - tend to classify their crayons and markers into two categories: (1) my favorite and (2) all others. In other words, (1) they know what they personally like and (2) all others that they will eventually need. If we adults could just get back to the same classification; realizing that we need all colors, all views, all persons - including our favorites - to complete our picture.

Emily meticulously removed another crayon wrapper and looked at me innocently and said, "Doesn't it look pretty now, Daddy?" How could I possibly argue with that logic? Perhaps removing all labels and brands on each other, we might find a pretty spectacular existence.


Post Note: Don't tell my wife Di, but after Emily's comment, I secretly helped her remove two more crayon labels. Ah, the ethical dilemmas of a parent...


© Copyright 2006 - All rights reserved