This story was passed on to me by a fellow artist as part of the arts in early years project 'How to Catch a Moonbeam and Pin it Down' Project.  I am not sure where it comes from, but I think it says something important....

 

Once a little boy went to school.   He was quite a little boy and it was quite a big school, but when the little boy found that he could go to his room by walking right in from the door outside he was happy, and the school did not seem quite so big any more.

One morning when the little boy had been in school a while the teacher said, ‘Today we are going to make a picture’. ‘Good’, thought the little boy. He liked to make pictures. He could make all kinds: lions and tigers, chickens and cows, trains and boats. He took out his box of crayons and began to draw.

But the teacher said: Wait! It’s not time to begin “. and she waited until everyone looked ready. “Now”, said the teacher, “We’re going to make flowers.’  ‘Good’ thought the little boy. He liked to make flowers and he began to make beautiful ones with his pink and orange and blue crayons.

But the teacher said “Wait and I will show you how “. And it was red, with a green stem, “There”, said the teacher “Now you may begin”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s flower. Then he looked at his own flower. He liked his flower better than his teacher’s but he did not say this. He just turned his paper over and made a flower like the teacher’s.  It was red, with a green stern.

On another day, when the little boy had opened the door from the outside all by himself, the teacher said: “Today we are going to make something with clay “. ‘Good’ thought the little boy. He liked clay.

He could make all kinds of things with clay: snakes and snowmen, elephants and mice, cars and trucks, and he began to pull and pinch his ball of clay. But his teacher said: “Walt! it’s not time to begin”. She waited until everyone looked ready.

“Now” said the teacher “We are going to make a dish” ‘Good’ thought the little boy.  He liked making dishes, and he began to make some that were all shapes and sizes.

 The teacher said, “Wait, and I’ll show you how” And she showed everyone how to make one big dish, “There “, said the teacher “Now you may begin “.

The little boy looked at the teacher’s dish then he looked at his own. He liked his dishes better than the teacher’s but he did not say this. He just rolled his clay into a big ball again and made a dish like the teacher’s.  It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon the little boy learned to wait.  And to watch.  And to make things just like teacher’s. And pretty soon he didn’t make things of his own anymore. 

Then it happened that the little boy and his family moved to another house, in another city and the little boy had to go to another school. This school was even bigger than the other one, and there was no door from the outside into his room. He had to go up some big steps, and walk down a long hall to get to his room. 

And the very first day he was there, the teacher said: “Today we are going to make a picture “. ‘Good’ thought the little boy, and he waited for the teacher to tell him what to do. But the teacher didn’t say anything. She just walked around the room.

 When she came to the little boy she said, “Don’t you want to make a picture?” “Yes” said the little boy. “What are we going to make?” “I don’t know until you make it”, said the teacher.

 “How shall I make it?” asked the little boy. “Anyway you like”, said the teacher. “And any colour?” asked the little boy. “Any colour”, said the teacher. “If everyone made the same picture and used the same colours, how would I know who made what and which was which?” “I don’t know” said the little boy.

And he began to make a red flower with a green stem.....