I received this in an email the other day (Thanks, Clare). It’s actually written in a circular to teachers, but it applies so well to families, churches and other organisations just as much as to schools. The lesson, I believe, is obvious: Unless we allow people the freedom to think, act and create outside of the box (whatever that ‘box’ may be), we will not only impair their own development, but we will do a great disservice to our community and our world.
Once upon a time there was a little boy who studied at a big school.
One morning the teacher said “Today we’re going to draw.”
“Good” thought the little boy. He liked to draw lions, tigers, chickens, trains and boats.
He got his coloured pencils and started drawing.
“Wait!! Don’t start yet.” said the teacher.
She waited until all the students were ready and then said, “We’re going to draw flowers.”
The little boy started drawing beautiful flowers with his pink, orange and blue pencils.
“Wait” said the teacher. “I’ll show you how to do it.”
And the flower she drew was red with a green stem.
“OK” said the teacher, “Now you can do it.”
The little boy looked at the flower the teacher had drawn , looked at his own flowers and liked his best. He couldn’t say that so he turned the sheet of paper over and drew a flower just like the one the teacher had drawn–red with a green stem.
Another day the students were having class outside and the teacher said, “Today we are going to play with clay.”
“Great” the boy thought. He liked to play with clay.
He could make things like elephants, mice, cars and trucks.
He started to take some clay in his hands and make a big ball.
Then the teacher said, “Wait ! Don’t start yet.”
She waited until all the students were ready.
“Now” she said “we’re going to make a plate.”
“Good” thought the little boy.
He liked to make plates of different sizes and shapes.
The teacher said, “Wait !! I’ll show you how to do it.”
It was a soup plate.
“OK” she said, “Now you can start.”
The little boy looked at the plate the teacher had made, looked at his own plate and liked his best. He couldn’t say it so he got his plate, made it into a big ball and started it again.
He made a soup-plate just like the one the teacher had made.
And since early in his life he learned not to do things by himself but to wait for a model.
And then the little boy went to another school.
This one was even bigger than the other one.
One day the new teacher said, “Today we’re going to draw.”
“Good” thought the little boy.
He waited to see what the teacher would draw.
The teacher didn’t draw anything.
She only walked around the room.
Then the teacher approached the little boy and asked, “Don’t you like to draw?”
“Yes” he said “but what are we going to draw?”
“I don’t know” said the teacher. “Draw whatever you want.”
“How can I do it?” he asked.
“Any way you want.” said the teacher.
“But what colours should I use?” he asked.
“You choose. If everybody makes the same drawing with the same colours how can I know which drawing is yours?” she said.
“I don’t know” answered the boy.
And he draw a red flower with a green stem.
Many times we want our children, friends, relatives, people we love, to do things the way we believe is the correct one.
Are we right?
Other times we sit and wait until someone tells us what to do.
Is that right?
(Copied from Leadiong and Learning, http://leading-learning.blogspot.com/)