Sometimes, you just have to ask

There’s something about kids’ drawings.   I love the elongated cars with wobbly wheels, the fingers that look like chopsticks, the short flattened rainbows hovering in a white sky.   The pictures always seem like a window into the child’s mind, a window that you can only access with a piece of paper and a box of crayons.

So it was rather fascinating when Matthew came home with a picture he’d drawn at kindergarten.  The directions were to draw a picture of someone being a good citizen.  This is what he drew:

“Oh, what a nice picture,” I said brightly, thinking, Am I missing something here?  Two people, apparently sans clothing, as an example of good citizenship.   I was getting nothing.

To be honest, I was ever-so-slightly hesitant about asking for clarification.  Years ago, I read a book by some parenting sage who talked about how you should never look at a kid’s drawing and ask, “What is it?”   (Apparently you are supposed to exclaim over it until the child volunteers some information that helps you figure it out.)   But curiosity got the better of me.  I had to know.

“So tell me,” I said, “how is this a picture about being a good citizen?”

“It’s a picture of one person sharing his ball with another person,” said Matthew patiently.  “Only I didn’t have time to draw the ball.”

Good thing I asked.

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