I am a perfectionist.
As a child, I would wake up obscenely early on Saturday mornings to watch a drawing tutorial show.
The show’s target audience was grown adults. This wasn’t a show meant to teach seven-year-olds how to draw. But there I was sitting cross-legged in front of the TV with my paper and pencil, doing my best.
One morning, the drawing was an owl in flight. The intricate feathers and the fact that the bird was in motion made it particularly difficult. I made one mistake and was furiously erasing as the instructor on the TV moved on to the next step, and the next, as I fell further and further behind.
7-year-old Riley had a minor (ok, major) meltdown.
From then on, my mom recorded the episodes on the VCR so that I could pause whenever I wanted. And I even still have one of my drawings from that show!
Do any of your kids freak out like I did when they fail?
Kids often have strong emotional reactions to failure, even failures that seem small to us, like messing up a drawing.
We need to teach them strategies to deal with these emotions because everyone makes mistakes. One strategy is to realize that a mistake is often an opportunity for us to use our imagination and create something we never would have thought of before.
In this exercise, Zoo U’s Karma the Chameleon started several doodles, but gave up when she thought she made a mistake. Students must use their imagination to turn the “mistakes” into art by completing Karma’s drawings. It’s a great opportunity to discuss how mistakes can often lead to something greater than our original plan.