One of Staci's four year old twins, Creed, came home from preschool a little downhearted last night. When Staci asked them how school was, Creed replied, "Not so good." He explained. "My teacher told us to color but we had to color in the lines and I just like to scribble."
Amused, Staci tried convincing the little guy that sometimes it's more important to follow instructions than to do what we want to do. Of course, the four year old couldn't let it lie. "But I just like to scribble and it's my picture!" he demanded. "But, your teacher is trying to teach you, Creed -, so stay in the lines on the picture you're doing for her and then scribble all you want on your own stuff at home."
I had to laugh when Staci told me the story. Scribble boy and I have a lot in common. If I was going to have to stay in the lines, I was going to make new lines. Even subtle new lines would make my picture different enough to satisfy my own creative need. I can't say that approach really worked all that well for me in school because back then, defying authority in school would get your butt whipped, sometimes both at school and again at home. And I lived in a children's home where the lines were embedded in stone and nothing outside of them was ever, ever tolerated.
Once out on my own, I discovered that just as often as not, coloring outside the lines, even drawing new lines served me well. With time, I learned to better calculate the risks, deal with the results and learn from the experiences. It took me half a lifetime to embrace that particular quality about myself and realize it was a very important part of who I am. Only then did I find my true creative core and learn to enjoy it.
I'm sure scribble boy will do fine because he's a strong minded little dude and schools are so much better these days about nurturing the creative child. I reckon as I grow into my golden years and my vision begins to fade, I'll be very happy. I may not be able to see where the lines are anymore so I can just scribble away!