there are always other
"creative places" to "play.""
...from the body language of my Grandson.
As the year came slowly to an end I could not help but go there. At times, I thought this was just too much. The stress, pressure, demands, problems and issues were rather overwhelming.
Then I read this from one of my special people, Seth Godin. "When you complain that you need ever more specific advice because the general advice just doesn't apply, consider looking for your fear instead....The first step is acknowledging that our problem isn't that special."
OK, right, thanks Seth, I think! When I thought about other teachers, even in St. Aidens where I teach, I certainly was not alone. They were involved, over and above I was for sure. I admired them to no end for the work they did. They were there every day, all day while I was coming only once per week, for three hour! I suddenly realized I was quite the wimp. All I could say was, suck it up Cliff!
Upon further thought I had to admit that there was a huge upside to my situation also. I realized It certainly was not all negative by any means. As the year progressed I had gained a very new and different understanding of "the therapeutic value of art. My students were changing for the better in many ways. But so was I.
I began to realize, watching my students, how art had also been a huge asset in my own personal healing journey. How it had been and was absolutely vital to the processing my personal pain and trauma. Could I really let this go? Was it fair to do that? Would there be regrets?
As the year was ending students and teachers began asking, "Are you coming back next year?" I hesitated, teasing and hedging as I was not sure myself. Everyone was encouraging but also understanding.
I'm reading a book called "The Well Played Life" by Lenard Sweet, who says we are taking life way to seriously! We need to learn to play. When we go to the zoo (which we have done with our grandson) we are supposed to delight in the "numbed out" animals in the zoo. We bring our children to see and watch sleeping tigers and polar bears! They might as well be dead as far as the kids are concerned. We try very hard to get them to "enjoy" and to "watch" as we wait for them to make an exciting move, any move for that matter. We forget kids have a different view of life. They just want to play at something. They see stuff right beside the pens that they find way more exciting. Things we don't see at all. We cannot imagine how there can be anything more exciting to watch than the camel in front of us, lying there. My grandson saw a much wider world of interest at the zoo. He was not bored when the lion would not move..."Hay look right here beside the netting's an interesting stick I can actually pick up...(he loves sticks and has a collection of them back home) What can I do with it? Oh see over there is some sand, I can use it to dig or draw in the sand! Look at the interesting groove I've made, what else can this amazing "living" stick do?
Fundamentally, art is just that, play. Adults and children at play, letting their minds go and expressing whatever comes up. I realized, suddenly I needed to see my teaching as play. It's not about "doing it right" or "killing myself with heavy responsibility. If this was the result of my poor, wobbly and uncertain first year of teaching art, what in the world am I worried about? If I would just do even some semblance of perpetration during this summer, how much more impacting could this next year be? Remind you of anything? Somewhere my memory brought up this saying, "when I am weak, than I am strong!"
So thanks to my grandson, I've grabbed the stick and I'm ready to play. Playing at art all through the next school year!" I'm excited already.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing" George Bernard Shaw