Please Stop Telling My Child To Color Inside The Lines

I am fortunate to have a very attentive family and for that, I am grateful. But, sometime during Kael’s second year of life, I noticed that he was getting particular feedback from a few members of our large family.

“Why don’t you try to color in the lines?” and “The sky isn’t purple.”

My little one just kept on coloring. But I was surprisingly stunned. The comments were well meaning by people who love us, but they really struck me to my core. You might be thinking “it’s not that serious,” but to me it is.

This is how it all starts.

This is how a child learns that they’re not good enough. This is how they learn that their vision doesn’t matter. This is how they learn that if the way they see the world doesn’t match up with the way we as adults see the world, then they’re wrong.

I’m not having it.

We have Kael in a Montessori School. What I like most about the Montessori Method is that the focus is on the child as the teacher. This method encourages children to explore and problem solve without directives from others. They learn by experiencing.

What does he learn by figuring out when to and when not to color in the lines? What does he do with blank paper? Why can’t he color the clouds black or pink? So what if he adds an extra eye at the belly button of a person?

Life is not predictable. It rarely goes according to our plans. In our little way of letting Kael express his creativity, we’re teaching him to think in his own way. We’re teaching him to think outside of the box. We’re teaching him to follow the voice inside of him.

Have you ever seen a pink cloud and a purple sky? I have and it is glorious.

Letting the impossible be possible may be how we change the world … purple sky, pink clouds and coloring outside of the lines.

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