Flowers are red (sometimes)

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

May is a great month to energize our creativity! Our wonderful winter is behind us. Flowers and trees are budding and blossoming. Sun is brightening up our days. Creativity is about making choices, arranging things, problem solving, exploration and experimentation. Creativity is about playfulness and the courage and spirit to "mess around" with ideas and materials.

Recently after a teachers' workshop, one of my colleagues shared this very sad story. Her 4-year-olds were painting pictures - trees, flowers, clouds, birds. One of the parents who came to pick up her child looked at the children's colorful works and complained, "Some of the skies are purple. Trees are NOT this color. Is this a good idea to let the children just paint anything they want even if it doesn't respond to reality?"

Harry Chapin's powerful song Flowers Are Red is a perfect response to this parent's concern. The little boy is painting flowers of all colors. His very rigid teacher admonishes him, "Flowers are red. Green grass is green." She says there is no reason to paint flowers any other colors. The little boy tells her there are so many colors in the rainbow, in the morning sun, in the flowers and he sees every one. After a while, he is told he is disobedient and, after sitting by himself, he paints flowers red and grass green. He soon moves to another school where the teacher is full of life and love. She puts out the colors for the children to paint flowers. Our little boy paints his flowers red, his grass green. She tells him there are so many colors in the flowers, in the rainbow, in the morning sun and she sees every one.

But it is too late. The little boy has learned his lesson. He tells her…Flowers are red…Green grass is green….

Friends, creativity is messy! It's full of choices and colors and layers, dreams and visions and ideas. As you share playful, joyful creative times with your children, celebrate their colors, applaud their originality, delight in their "works!"

Use all the crayons! Have fun!