“Every child is entitled to one happy, care-free hour every day. We, in our anxiety to surround him with every safeguard, inspire him to greater effort, and lead him into habits of industry and righteousness, are likely to leave him no time for leisure. That is a great mistake. Provide for his hour of freedom and let him do as he likes. Even when he does things that you wish he wouldn’t. Let him.”
Child Training by Angelo Patri, 1922
David, age 11, is a cartoonist now. He read this book, by Betsy Byars, and is now excitedly forming a new group at school. Last year was an origami club, and now it’s a drawing comic strips club. He says he has all of his friends doing it.
(“When the boy organizes a club, encourage it. It is the sign of leadership. The clutter of boys about the place annoys you. Their noise bothers you. You have troubles enough with your own sons without gathering the neighbors’ as well. Be patient. Be glad that it is your son that is doing the gathering. He is leading. He is learning to carry responsibilities. Help him along.” Angelo Patri)
As soon as he arrived home from school yesterday, David set to work. He cleared off the small table upstairs and then hunted down all the colored pencils in the house he could find. He chose his Dad’s coffee mug to put them in. That done, he set out to find a lamp. He found one in his sister’s room and took it to his table to plug it in. Now he had light to work by. He got some pure white paper, sat in his chair…..and worked for such a long time. His brother Caleb had to beg him to go out to jump on the trampoline with him. Then right back to his table he went, until it was nighttime.
The evenings are so busy, I wasn’t paying much attention to his pursuits. But when he came and showed me his finished comic strip, I thank the Lord that I took the time to really study it and talk to him about it, and I was impressed.
This morning while he was busy making his lunch, he said this:
“For once I understand how to draw good comics. You have to put all your life’s skill into it.”
It was after writing that one down that I began to realize just how interested he was in drawing comics.
All on his own:
He read a book.
He gather up supplies.
He formed a club at school.
He set up his own work station.
After he was gone, I went upstairs to look at what David did with his hour yesterday.
He kept asking me where a tan was. He needed TAN. I didn’t know. This morning I saw his practice paper, where he was trying to figure out what to do. (He ended up using a tan crayon.)
He hung up pictures of his club from last year. He loves these pictures. His teacher took them, and gave them to him.
(By the way, a couple weeks ago I found David weeping over his memory book from 2nd grade. He put it away and wrote his 2nd grade teacher a note, made a homemade envelope, and mailed it to her. She wrote him back!) He has such a tender heart and so wise beyond his years.
With David’s example, Seth and Caleb are busy making cartoons now, too.
Complete with shocking boy humor. (Caleb)