Draw Outside of Your Box - January 12, 2023 | Kids Out and About Dallas

Draw Outside of Your Box

January 12, 2023

Debra Ross

When I was 4 years old, I spent one morning in a cousin's kindergarten class. The subject of the day was dinosaurs, and when I saw the paper and crayons, I was excited. I was in a school for the very first time, and they were going to teach me how to draw dinosaurs. How cool was that?!?

"Okay, draw your dinosaur now," the teacher said. I remember being startled. How can I draw a dinosaur if no one shows me how? I guessed the big kids had learned last week, so I moved near a dinosaur picture, took a deep breath, and picked up a crayon. But when it was time to stop, all I saw in front of me was a bunch of sharp-pointed scribbles. I was crushed: It didn't look like a dinosaur at all! The teacher must have seen my eyes filling with tears. She glanced at the picture next to me. "Did you draw a... stegosaurus?" I nodded miserably. "Nice job!" she said. But I knew better. I knew I couldn't draw.

What I'd done, of course, was draw myself right into a box. It took me 30 years to try drawing again, and that was only after I realized I'd drawn myself into many similar boxes over the years, boxes that trapped me into old ways of thinking, ways that stifled innovation as well as self-acceptance.

Fortunately, our culture has grown savvier over the years: It's now recognized that progress requires that we think outside lines that we've drawn ourselves into, that we examine problems from new perspectives and invite people with different ideas into our orbits. In a KOAA survey of 550 private school parents all over North America last year, "Fostering out of the box thinking" was the third-most-important life-preparation reason parents purchase private school education, after "Helping students develop character" and "Teaching kids to work with others." Of course, all of us—kids and adults alike—can learn to be adventurous and inventive anywhere, not just in schools; all we need are a few tools and the support to climb out of old grooves.
Debra Ross, publisher
So I'm hereby wishing you, and the kids in your orbit, a 2023 that is free of boxes...except for the ones filled with crayons.