LIVING, LOVING & LEARNING
Excerpted from the book, by Leo Buscaglia
As an individual, you must not be satisfied with just becoming like everybody else. You must think for yourself. For example, art supervisors. I can remember when they used to come to my classroom in elementary school, and I'm sure you can remember it, too. You were given a paper, and the teacher would put up the drawing in front of you and you were really excited. It was going to be art time. You had all the crayolas in front of you, and you folded your hands and you waited. And soon the art teacher would come running in, because she had been to fourteen other classrooms that day teaching art. She ran in, and she'd huff and puff and she'd say, "Good morning girls and boys. Today we are going to draw a tree." And all the kids would say, "Goody, we're going to draw a tree!" And then she'd get up there with a green crayola and she'd draw this great big green thing. And then she put a brown base on it and a few blades of grass. And she'd say, "There is a tree." And all the kids would look at it and they'd say, "That isn't a tree. That's a lollipop." But she said that was a tree, and then she's pass out these papers and say, "Now, draw a tree."
She didn't really say, "Draw a tree" -- she said, "Draw my tree." And the sooner you found out that's what she meant and could reproduce this lollipop and hand it to her, the sooner you would get an A.
But here was little Janie who knew that wasn't a tree, because she'd seen a tree such as this art teacher had never experienced! So she got magenta, and orange, and blue, and purple, and green, and she scribbled all over her page and happily brought it up and gave it to the teacher. She looked at it and said, "Oh my God...."
How long does it take somebody to realize that what they're really saying is, "To pass, I want you to reproduce my tree." And so it goes through the first grade, second, third and right on into seminars in graduate school. I teach seminars in graduate school. It's amazing how people have learned to parrot by then. Think? Don't be ridiculous. They can give you the facts, verbatim, just as you've given it to them. And you can't blame those students, because that's what they've been taught. You say to them, "Be creative," and they're fearful. And so what happens to our uniqueness; what happens to our tree? All this beautiful uniqueness has gone right down the drain. Everybody is like everybody else, and everybody is happy. R.D. Laing says, "we are satisfied when we've made people like ourselves out of our children: Frustrated, sick, blind, deaf.....