Christopher Lasch’s “The Obsolescence of Left & Right” (Apribpis one of the most stimulating things I’ve read in years.
This letter concerns Robert Coles’s April column on “Teaching Fourth Grade,” in which he said, “not only does it help me understand how children think…. but…their words and reactions give me a much needed boost sometimes….”
Our Lord must have had His reasons when He counseled, “Unless you become like children….”
As a parent and former art teacher, I too have had kid-insight boosts such as Coles’s. I was visiting with the fifth-grade teacher whose class was waiting for my art lesson, when a boy came up to her desk and presented her with a clumsy little Popsicle-stick sculpture. He said, “I made it at home for you.” A classmate standing nearby pointed to it and sneered, “What’s that?” The boy answered, “It isn’t what it is that matters; it’s that it is!”
I was introducing a third-grade class to my “inside-out” method of drawing animal shapes. The first step is for the children to imagine the main shape of an animal as I call out its name. I purposely alternate animals whose shapes are most different from one another. I had shouted, “Think giraffe!” I followed immediately with the command, “Alligator!” A little fellow at the back of the room let out a yell as he pushed an upraised hand down on top of his head and then flung both hands out beyond his ears to help his brain make the sudden transformation.
One evening I was lying in bed beside my three-year-old niece Susan, waiting for her to get sleepy. We had been talking about guardian angels. She came up with this observation: “Sometimes I know my angel is so big her wings cover the whole house; other times she is so small I can hold her in the palm of my hand.”
I subscribe to the NOR as a kind of bridge between the world of the mind and the more childlike world of faith. I was delighted to find a fellow traveler — Robert Coles — crossing over with me.
Catherine M. LeGault
Central Point, Oregon
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