‘I can’t’ funeral – Wildcat style

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Seven years in the same building, same classroom – my own little world in room 103 and the old high school commons area is my art museum and display space for the amazing art that my students create! They just never fail to impress me with what they can accomplish with just a little inspiration, some guidance and the talents hidden inside of each of them. Creativity comes in many forms and fashions and is something that is given by God to each of us. We choose to manifest it in many different ways.

The first day of school every year I hear, “I can’t draw,” “I can’t draw,” “I can’t draw” – a thousand times over and over all day long. Many years ago, I decided to hold an “I can’t funeral,” yes, funeral. The students were given a sheet of notebook paper and a pencil and instructed that when the bell sounds, please brainstorm and list all the things you think you can’t do. Don’t stop writing until I say stop. At the end of the 10 minutes of free-writing, I said now please tear up that paper and place it in the trash can behind my desk. They looked at me funny and I would say, “No questions!” “Trust me.” I picked up the trash can and said follow me outside please, and be very quiet in the halls. We walked to the dumpster outside room 103 near the tennis courts. I then dumped the contents of the trash can into the dumpster.

When I turned around, the looks were priceless I looked at the faces of those kids and said, “You can no longer say “I can’t” in art class. Not anymore, because we just threw all your doubts, worries, short-comings, self-judgments, or whatever it is you thought you couldn’t do – we threw them away – they are gone! From this moment forward, no more negative statements about your ability to be creative. Creativity is a gift from God and all you have to do is try and it will come to you. It’s been waiting inside all of you. Just waiting for each one of you to stop denying your worth, your talent, your joy, your beauty, your calling, and find it!”

We walked back to art class and prepared for the bell – lesson taught. From that day forward, the “C” word is a crime in Wildcat visual arts, room 103. Teach them to trust, teach them to care about themselves and others and let them know that someone loves them and the rest, they say, is history!

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