“Feeding Frenzy” By: Jose, 8 years old
Do you remember when you felt like the world was against you and play time was the only time that existed? I was young then, naïve, sensitive, and hyper. Not like much has changed but, it was a vulnerable time for me as with any kid.
I met Jose an 8-year-old boy at Spring Break Art Camp in a community art school where I currently work at. I helped out with the Art Camp filling in as a substitute when the teachers or volunteers needed a break. Jose was quiet, reserved, and from the conversations we had, hated everyone and everything with the exception of his PlayStation 2. Before the camp started in the mornings I would give the kids paper and pencils to draw with while the teachers prepared for the day. I couldn’t help but notice young Jose’s artistic talent. He created monsters, fish, dogs, people, anything that crossed his mind in crazy scenarios that would make one wonder how so much creativity could be stored in such a little body. All the kids got along with each other except for Jose, the other boys picked on him for being so quiet. As a result I would try to give him extra attention in order for him to feel comfortable and well liked. I asked him one day if I could have one of his drawings and he replied “No” in his usual pessimistic way “Why would you want one of MY drawings, I can’t even draw, I hate drawing” he said. No matter how much I told him and praised his art, he would respond in the same way. So I made a deal with him, if he gave me one of his drawings I would buy him a snickers bar at snack time, the only catch was that the drawing had to have a Whale in it. The next day I asked him if he had the drawing and as usual the answer was an unenthusiastic No. I figured he forgot about our deal but none the less I replied “No problem you have all day, when I come back at the end of the day I hope to be having a one of a kind original Jose drawing in exchange for a snickers.” Mid-day, that very day he tugged on my shirt and gave me a folded piece of paper then ran away. I chased after him after I looked at this incredible detailed drawing filled with action, playfulness, and his characteristically ominous style. As promised I kept my end of the bargain, and as he happily ate away at his snickers bar he looked up at me and said “I had the drawing all along today, I just didn’t want anyone to see me give it to you this morning.” I said nothing just smiled and thought to myself, boys will be boys no matter what the age, but I think this means he’s opening up to me, and that put a smile on my face. The drawing by the way is hanging up in my office, I look at it everyday.
Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity. If you have some time to spare check out this video.
Want to do something worth while? Help support your local kids art programs by donating your time, money, or in the fight in keeping art in public schools.