Monday, April 22, 2013

Be Careful What You Say

Every so often, I have a child who spends lots of time at the art table, but throws everything they make in the trash. I have never really understand why. I have always assumed that maybe it was their way of claiming complete ownership over their art, but that was just a guess. I have never questioned a child on their reasons.

Awhile back, we had a child doing this. Again, I figured this was serving some need the child had, so I left it alone. One morning, I watched as some pretty impressive creations and drawings were ending up in the trash. I finally had to ask him why. He said he was throwing them away because they weren't right.


I then said, "Really? I thought you had made some pretty cool things today!" He grinned, and since then I have not seen him throw away a single creation. They have all ended up in the art box.

I have no idea why this particular child decided that his art wasn't good enough. I don't know if someone suggested it to him, or he came up with this on his own. I am most certainly not putting any blame on anyone, because I have never seen anything that would suggest anyone in this child's life would be to blame.

However, as I reflected on this exchange, it occurred to me that maybe some of the issues we have had in the past  could have led to some kids feeling their art wasn't good enough, leading them to throw it away. Not all of them, but maybe a few.

I'm not telling this story to make anyone feel guilty or to place any blame anywhere. I'm using it to serve as a reminder that we need to be careful about what we say in front of our kids. They are always listening, and sometimes they misinterpret us. And sometimes they interpret our conversations correctly, leading them to a behavior we didn't intend.

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