So the other day one of my daughter’s teachers told me that my three year old can’t stay within lines. I was confused so I asked her again and she said that my daughter is still not able to colour properly and has problem staying within the boundary. Obviously she is my daughter’s teacher and wants her to learn as much as possible.
Initially I felt odd coz it is important to learn properly and I bought a few colouring books for her. We started with some good colours that had good grip and stuff. I noticed that my daughter was not able to stay within the boundary and she wanted to try different colours instead of what was being shown in the sample image. In fact she drew few lines here and there and said, ‘Mummy look, I made a house.’ What amazed me was that she then continued to draw a distorted circle, two dots as eyes, a nose and a smile, then she made two legs and hands and said, ‘Mummy this is you.’
I was surprised at her creative thinking. I am sure every kid has that. I felt that this should not distract me. So I decided that I would colour with her and teach her how to stay within the boundaries. I could not do it. No matter how careful I was, I simply could not colour within the boundaries and there was this constant urge to use different colours. This activity reminded me of my childhood. I was never able to colour within the lines, my skies were never blue, grass wasn’t always green and I was one of the top scorers in drawing as a subject.
It worked as an eye opener for me… why am I forcing her to stay within the boundaries when she is defining her own boundaries, creating her own world. Who am I to chop off her creative wings and teach her to follow the rules? I must let her create her own rules.
I know this is a small issue but somehow this made me feel that I am unintentionally trying to teach my child to follow the norms set by us just like that. Being a girl, even in today’s world, a lot is already imposed on her, a lot will be expected from her . . . Do this, do that, this is not how you should behave, you can’t go there, girls don’t do that. While some might say that I am connecting the school stuff to something else but doesn’t everything start from school. I want to let my child know that she is free not just to learn at her own pace but also she is free to jump off the so called boundaries, she has all my support to break the so called norms and rules that are meant to just how her that girls are less than boys. There are no fixed roles for boys and girls and that she has all my support to break free from all the conventions made to oppress women in one or other way.
For the academics . . .Every child is different and every child learns at his or her own pace. Today my daughter might not be able to stay within boundaries while colouring but may be with time she will learn. I need to be okay with it and not push her.
The other day when her teacher told me again that she is still not able to stay within boundaries, I happily replied, ‘She never will.’