Should Children Be Instructed to Color Within the Lines?

My grandson's picture of his mom at her computer.

My grandson’s picture of his mom at her computer.

Don’t miss the excellent opportunities to teach spiritual disciplines to your children when they engage in one of the most favorite of childhood past-times: Coloring Books.

When using coloring books, you should encourage your child to COLOR WITHIN THE LINES. I know that sounds like “art blasphemy,” but this is an example of how secular humanism has wormed its way into our thinking at so many levels we don’t even examine it.

Being encouraged to color any way you want and do your own thing is part of the culture of narcissism that we are now contending with. Worse yet, the children that instinctively want to color within the lines are left feeling less artistic or less creative than their undisciplined classmate.

The lines are there for a reason. They are the boundaries that someone else has put in place. Teaching a child to accept and operate within boundaries (being submissive, if you will), is a goal that Christian parents and educators should share. That is not to say that all art projects should consist of pre-designed coloring pages. There are plenty of opportunities in a good art program to encourage both submissiveness and creative problem solving.

Of course I am not suggesting that a child be coerced or humiliated if he doesn’t color within the lines, but a caring adult should consider how the ‘scribbling’ might be reflective of other issues. Is the child’s fine motor skills developing more slowly than his classmates? If so a variety of other manipulative activities might help him. Gently encourage him to follow the guidelines of the drawing or quietly put away the coloring book for paper where he can have more free expression. On the other hand, could the scribbling be a sign of impatience or anger both of which are character traits that you may want to address with other strategies.

In any case, avoid making a mockery of art, craftsmanship, and diligence by not giving into the popular psychological drivel of admiring sub-standard effort. You can gently and graciously end the “art” session by simply saying, “It doesn’t look like you feel much like giving this your best effort today. Let’s put this away and do something else.”

Dare I say that I’d love to hear your thoughts on this?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s