A few thoughts on yesterday’s post…
As I was writing yesterday I began to think of a story I had heard some time ago. I am great at remembering stories and people, but not so good at remembering where I heard the stories or where I met the people. So if I am ripping this story off of you please forgive me. Leave a comment and I’ll make sure you get full credit.
A few years ago there was a study done that went into kindergarten classes and asked the little students how many of them could draw? In every instance 100% of the children raised their hands. Then they went to third grade classes and asked the same question, this time 2/3 of the class raised their hands. Next they went into fifth grade classes with the same question, but now only about 1/4 of the students raised their hands. The final class they asked were freshman in high school. The response had dwindled to less than a handful who believed they could draw.
So what has happened? Is there a mysterious ailment that afflicts adolescents causing them to lose the ability to draw? Or do they quit because art now becomes another class they need to get through? Or do they become preoccupied with “other stuff.”
I am no psychologist, but here is what I believe, at least, begins to contribute to the falling number of students who believe they can draw. They begin to listen to themselves and others who say, “You can’t draw.” Now maybe they aren’t that direct, instead they hear these words, “What is that?” or “That’s dumb.” or “Yeah, whatever.”
These words set the tone. They are not encouraging. They don’t make you feel like you are making a good effort. Back in my youth we called it a bummer. They bum you out. They cause you to doubt. To believe what you are accomplishing isn’t very good and not worth the effort.
I wonder what would happen if we praised the art work of every child. No I’m not saying we have to proclaim each child the next Picasso, but if we encouraged the effort, the concept, or the idea. Not all children can draw, but I suspect that are a lot of drawers out there who don’t draw because somewhere along life they got the idea they weren’t good enough.
What if this is true, not only with drawing, but also singing, writing, playing an instrument, creating, thinking, wondering, traveling, exploring, love, and/or life. What if this type of dwindling belief in what we can accomplish is active in sports, business, religion, in our governments, in our schools, in our hospitals, in our families, in our lives.
Is there really only one Lance Armstrong?
Is there really only one Usain Bolt?
Is there really only one Martin Luther King Jr.?
Is there really only one Gandhi?
Is there really only one Desmond Tutu?
Is there really only one Richard Branson?
Is there really only one Steve Jobs?
Or are there more? Maybe even thousands more, just waiting for the right words or combination of words, so they can excel. So they can break the shackles of mediocrity and soar. How high? We don’t have a clue. But we’ll never know if we don’t encourage.