This morning I had the opportunity to teach English language to a seven year-old class in a kindergarten school. After I was done teaching, realizing there were some minutes left to spare, I instructed the children to paint some cartoon pictures found in their workbook.
As I was patrolling the class to check on their work progress, my eyes were caught by the work of two children who sat next to each other with significant difference in their painting style.
The boy who sat on the right side, who is named Kenny painted the picture of a monkey squatting on a tree branch. He imagined the monkey to have a green colour face, pink arm, orange with a tint of blue colour body and a yellow tail. Colourful that is.
It was Nelson who sat on the left. It isn’t important what he painted, but how he painted. A slap of bright red colour for the picture at the top, and a black colour filled picture marked with a huge cross at the bottom.
I was curious about the rationale behind the way these kids painted their pictures. I figured it would be futile to question them directly, considering their young age. But intuition signalled to me that their drawing is the subconscious expression of how they view the world. More likely than not, their world views are strongly affiliated to their family background and growing environment.
Soon after that, I approached the school principal who knows each of the children in that class inside out. Through her, I began gauging about the behaviour of these two children during other days in attempt to confirm my pre-conceived bias.
True enough, Kenny was born in a relatively affluent family. He has a younger sibling and his parents are on “good terms” so to speak. Therefore Kenny was never deprived of love from the day he was born. Coupling with proper home guidance, this has led to his obedient, generous and polite attitude in class.
Truthfully, my heart was shattered into pieces when I was told about Nelson. He is the most notorious student in class. He has very short attention span, likes to disturb his friends and doesn’t quite enjoy peace. Needless to say, his academic performance is mediocre. Actually that is an overstatement. But the very same child would hug his principal tightly in almost every morning, chanting “I love you” to her.
I heard he only gets to meet his biological father during special occasions. In the majority of other days, he lives with his grandparents, younger sister, stepsister, stepfather and stepmother. I did not have the guts to further question the fate of his biological mother…as some things are better left unsaid, unknown.
Oh..and the drawing…?