June 12, 2013
When I think of resilience, 7-8 year-old girls with ruined craft projects generally do not come to mind. Young artists are generally quite particular about their work. Ok, maybe not quite like a Salvador Dali, but they take their projects seriously.
Yet yesterday’s Division Night for the Mini division (cabins 8-12 and Rigabamboo) we saw something really cool.
Craw Ma’am (our Mini Division Leader) asked each girl to give herself an Indian Princess name. We had some serious ones like Dancing Dow and Rising Moon and a few a little less formal like slouching sloth and chocolate maniac. Once they had their names, each girl received a dress or shirt to decorate with patterns and their new names.
As they painted and listened to Disney music, a huge gust of wind shot through the Parthenon (the girl’s main building that has a breezeway), causing the shirts to tumble.
The still-wet-with-paint shirts to tumble . . . and smudge.
Or, perhaps not. A few girls started to get upset (who can blame them?), but the counselors then re-framed the experience. Grabbing one of the shirts, a quick-witted counselor showed the awesome pattern that resulted from the accident. The girls saw it and agreed.
Suddenly, spatter paint was the rage and girls were painting all over their shirts. Where they had previously focused on a narrowly prescribed design, they now saw new and fun possibilities “outside the lines”.
Craw Ma’am (never one to miss a teachable moment) talked with the girls briefly after they were done. She shared that she was proud that they were able to find the good in a “bad” situation and show such wonderful imagination.
I love these moments. I worry that our kids stress a bit about being perfect at times. They can become too married to a plan and not adapt. But if we know anything about the modern world, we know that adaptation is a critical skill.
OK, we are talking about spatter paint on shirts at camp, but I truly believe that such moments often provide the best lessons.