At school, the students drew pictures of their families. Marie’s drawing showed her family outside on a warm, sunny day. The carefully drawn family portrait highlighted the warm shades of spring, lovingly coloured in crayons. The grass was green and a yellow sun beamed in the corner of a blue sky.
Marie’s picture featured her mother, her step-father, and her baby brother. Mommy had brown, curly hair and she wore a pink dress. Daddy stood next to Mommy. He wore brown pants and an orange shirt. Marie’s baby brother was wrapped in a yellow blanket in his mother’s arms. Marie stood proudly in the middle of the picture. She had black hair with bangs and wore blue pants and a bright red shirt.
Marie’s drawing was almost perfect, except for one thing. Her family seemed to be floating on the grass, instead of standing on it.
Marie wanted her picture to be perfect, so she used her imagination and she came up with a solution. Under each person in her drawing, Marie drew an arc. Each family member was now standing on a newly created rock. To Marie, the picture was now in proportion. Marie felt very happy as she admired her work.
At the end of the day, the children packed up their school bags and went home to their families. Marie was thrilled to hand her precious family portrait to her parents.
Mommy looked at the picture and said nothing. Daddy looked at the picture too. Suddenly, they both started laughing. Marie was puzzled. Why were they laughing?
Daddy asked, “What are those things under our feet?”
“Those are rocks”, Marie answered. “You are standing on rocks”.
Daddy burst out laughing again. The family standing on rocks was just so very funny to him. He looked at Mommy and pointed to the rocks. “Look at this! Did you ever see a picture before with people standing on rocks? Don’t we look funny!” he exclaimed, laughing and pointing some more.
Mommy giggled and pointed to the picture. “Why did you draw us standing on rocks? Did you think we needed to be taller?” chortled Mommy.
Mommy and Daddy looked at the picture again. They laughed and laughed at Marie’s picture.
Marie was confused. She wanted to explain to the adults why she needed to put the people on the rocks, but she did not have the words.
It really had to do with how the little girl perceived the scale, dimensions, and the proportions of her drawing. It really had to do with the way her young brain organized the work, saw something that wasn’t just right, and then how to fix it without ruining the picture.
Children do not have eloquent and grown up words to explain complicated thought processes.
So, Marie said nothing. She looked at her parents in a quizzical way, her soft dark eyes pleading for understanding.
Her parents’ reactions had hurt Marie deeply. Her little chest hurt. She was humiliated.
Her beautiful picture had been mocked and scoffed. She looked at the picture and then looked at the floor. Her parents did not see the deep sadness in her dark brown eyes.
Later, Marie put the picture away. She never drew a picture of her family again.