Go ahead, be Whimsical. Or however else you want to be…Posted: May 5, 2012
One of the kids with whom I work was having a difficult time drawing. Every minute or so he would threaten to rip up the art he was working on.
“It isn’t right. I can’t get it right.”
I looked at his drawing. It was colourful, beautiful. There was a tree with finely textured bark and playful tangled branches. Beside the tree and nearly as tall were vines in motion, as if blowing in the breeze, and with lovely curls of audacious flowers in several shades of bright colours. There were even tiny winding words of spring greeting, floating in the sky.
I smiled to see it. It made me happy.
“I’m gonna rip this up,” he said.
“I like it very much,” I said. “It is so lively. It’s beautiful! What is it you don’t like about it?”
“It doesn’t look real,” he said.
True. It didn’t.
“You’re right,” I said. “It doesn’t look exactly as we see things out the window, although the tree does look remarkably like that one right there…” He smiled. He had been looking out the window. “This drawing is imaginative,” I continued. “… beautifully imaginative. You imagined, and you drew. There are all sorts of art. What we have here is Whimsical.”
“Whimsical?” He hadn’t heard the word. We don’t much use it. Whimsical.
“Yes. This artwork is whimsical. It means playful and imaginative and cheery. Makes you smile to see it.”
He did his best to suppress a wide grin and held the drawing in his hands as if seeing a thing of beauty for the very first time.
“Whim…sical.” He paused. “Whimsical?”
I wrote out the word for him on a piece of scrap paper. “There’s an ‘h’ in it,” I said.
He went back to his art.
When he brought it to me, I saw that he had added more whimsical flowers with delightful curling leaves in multiple shades of blue, turquoise, and grass-green. He had written in one corner: “My Whimsical Art” and also, in tiny swirls of words in the sky, “Whimsical” and “whimsical”– several times.
He asked if we could hang it up, and we did, and others admired it so that he felt even more splendid.
It got me thinking about how easy it is to discourage ourselves, to not complete things or try things because they seem–to us–not good enough, or not right. It’s easier sometimes to crumple up the paper in our dissatisfaction.
I think we should not be afraid to think some whimsical thoughts and to do some whimsical things. At least, I have been smiling at the potential of whimsical, and the potential in all of us, myself included.
Have a wonderful weekend,