"The rules I start with are not binding"

I have been mulling over this quote from artist Oliver Herring; "most people are much more unusual, complicated, eccentric, playful and creative than they have time to express."

The young children I teach show their unusual, complicated, eccentric, playful and creative sides as a matter of course. I enjoy the conversation around the studio table, which can range from an earnest explanation of tachyons, ("NOTHING. NOTHING is faster than a tachyon"), to how someone knows a real rocket, to talk about crying and whether its OK to cry when you don't win a race, to Zebras and if they can have different colored stripes or not.

Over the years I have noticed that people often exceed my expectations of them (expectations that grow out of my own stereotyped assumptions and attitudes). People are often more unusual, eccentric, creative and much, much funnier than I have time to notice. It is one of the things I love about my school community -I get to know the people over time and to begin to notice their love of shoes or subversive sense of humor, to find out they write short stories or have traveled all over the world. It is a constant surprise and delight.

*as quoted in the season 3 educator's guide to the the PBS series Art 21


  1. YES!!!!!!
    Thanks for sharing your daily joy. Those of us who do this work are so lucky. It is indeed a joy to spend the day with young folks in a studio, what a wonderful bubble it is. Great quote too.

  2. It's not really the same thing, but that quote reminded me of this one from Dostoyevsky: “As a general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more na├»ve and simple-hearted than we suppose. And we ourselves are, too.”

    I share your love from the people we get to spend our days with as preschool teachers. I honestly believe that there is something about preschools that brings the best (and most eccentric) out in people. Since I teach in a co-op with a 3-year program, I really get to know both the kids and the parents. What is amazing to me is that I have sometimes spent years playing lava monster or princess ponies with these adults, only to later learn they're CEOs, accountants, musicians or artists in their "real" life.

    I often say to the parents, "Look at us. Look what idiots we make of ourselves for our children." And I mean "idiot" in the absolutely best sense of that term. =)

  3. Thank you for sharing this - those are the moments that are priceless - and those moments are so often lost in classrooms where children do not have the chance to explore.


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