The tantrum that watered the flower to blossom
Updated: Apr 30, 2022
One of my students recently taught me a lesson when he was so upset with the idea and belief that he couldn't do what I knew he could. I teach grade 1/2 art and this particular art class we were learning how to draw waves, the sun and paint them with warm and cool colors. My students entered the class excited to start and I believed it was going to be an easy day, we would do everything together step by step and it was a day of paint! So fun! But as we began this particular student who started with the belief he could soon spiraled into the belief and emotions that followed that belief of "its not good", "It's to hard", "I can't". In my classroom I am very sensitive to the self talk, self image of my students and how we treat ourselves. I believe that what we believe has the ability to shape our reality and who we become.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you,
But his heart is not with you. (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV)
So I teach our students that we don't accept those negative thoughts but we try and prove them wrong, and speak life. See this is so important because it's true what Proverbs 23:7 says, my student became so overwhelmed with the belief that he couldn't that he actually would aggressively sabotage his artwork to "prove" that he couldn't, he let what he thought determine his reality. In that moment after trying several times and not getting the results he wanted he anxiously stopped following directions, started jumping ahead, scribbling over everything he thought he failed even when he didn't mess up or fail all in an effort to prove himself wrong. It was heart breaking to see such a clever, capable boy crumble, letting the lie and limitations he believed become reality, destroying his work, and self image. It wasn't something that was easy to correct and help with. We did the same art work 3 times, even doing it together and it was good, he had done it. But when I told him "ok now wait for me to show the class what's next, I just need to help your friend," he couldn't wait. He jumped ahead and then I caught him and took away the paint to help him wait. With that he decided that how he jumped ahead was wrong, that he was failing and threw a fit, refusing to try again. After some time to cool off, encouragement and helping him work through the problems of that mindset he was able to try again, this time catching up to the class. He entered the class believing he could but then when it became hard he decided no matter what he did it wasn't good enough. Trapped in that belief he refused to show it to anyone, but by the end of the class he was celebrating his accomplishments, hugging me and his friends, and in excitement ran out to his mother to show her what he had done.
The lesson wasn't hard, just something he had never done before which made it seem hard. He never had to figure it out alone, I was with him the whole time step by step, he only had to follow directions and wait for the class to be ready so we could all together move forward with the next directions. He never was expected to do it well or even perfectly, but he thought he did and when he didn't meet his expectations it was too much. The whole time he had words of encouragement, gentle leading, help, belief in him even when he couldn't believe himself. But all he could see in that moment was the reality of what he believed as he made it happen and the anger and sadness of it being that way. If he had believed any differently when challenge arose he would have been able to see like how he was at the end of class, that challenge can be enjoyable, he is capable and he did so well. I am so proud of my student because what really determined this shift was his choice to try again. He may have need that moment to feel everything he was feeling, get angry and grieve as he threw himself on the floor but in the end I see success. I look at this and see not someone who gave up and then tried again, I look at this and see someone who needed a moment to feel, find clarity, truth and hope before trying again, he never truly gave up.
I was writing something completely different for this post when I started but GOD wanted me to see and write this instead, because it is the perfect image of what He's been trying to show me. I am such a perfectionist, I can be very critical and hard on myself when I am learning something. I go in so hopeful, so capable but the moment I feel like I lose control I start to think the same way my student did. At first I try again and again like how my student when through 3 different artworks before have a melt down and walking away. But after trying again and again and again and still not seeing a change, after the negative lies keep becoming reality I feel like I gave up, melted down and walked away too. Recently I did this, I have been hoping, fighting, believing for something to happen, for GOD to fulfill a promise He made to me a year and a bit ago. I have given everything I have to fight, hold on, believe this, and every time I came face to face with failure, rejection and disappointment; like nothing I did even mattered. Many time I tried to rush ahead, didn't want to wait which only made me more upset when it didn't work out. When the whole time He's just been telling me hold on, wait for me, just wait. I got hurt, I got angry and I gave up on myself, I stopped believing I was capable of doing this, I believed I was failing. But I had to let go of what I thought I knew, what I believed for the truth. During letting go it brought so much anger, disappointment and pain. I know GOD is good and none of the pain or suffering I went through was His fault, I know He will fulfill this promise to me, but I ran from these feelings, feeling like its wrong to feel that way because of the goodness of GOD, but writing this and realizing the lesson, maybe its ok. Maybe it's ok that I needed a moment to stop, get angry, grieve because its in the release that I find clarity. Revaluate what the goal was, how to get there, what I need to do. It'll work out even when I can't see it. It will look differently from what I started with, it will be even better than what I thought it could be, it is already a success. It looks differently already, I believe differently, I see differently and I know I can wait, I can do this and soon I'll celebrate in the fulfillment of the promise. All this is teaching me what I strive to teach my students, we need to be more aware of what we believe, speak life into lies, and that perfection is never the aim, what is important and deems something a success is always getting back up, trying again, and giving it all you got. Its all about the journey, progress and the courage to try again.
Even if it isn't the prettiest picture, the lines are messy, it looks different than the rest of the class, it looks incomplete it is my favorite because it holds the most beautiful lesson. My student still accomplished all he was assigned to do and is able to tell me what warm (sky) and cool (water) colors are and where we use them. My student truly is amazing and I am so blessed and proud to be his teacher.