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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)

TITLE: An Unlikely Art Lesson
By Trina Courtenay


Mid January and Jack Frost finally made his presence known. As I ran out to my run down but ever faithful Ford pickup in order to warm her up I found myself wondering what in the world could I get my 19 kindergarten students to make in art class. An idea hit me like a frozen snowball thrown by a pro pitcher square in my noggin.

“That’s it!” I exclaimed in frozen breath as I patted the steering wheel of my truck. “I’ll get my rambunctious four year olds to draw a picture of where they would like to go this summer.” Being that the Christmas and New Year Seasons were now over and it was far too early to start Valentines crafts I knew I had a brilliant idea.

Later that same morning my students were all deep into their creative process with their still some what cubby little digits when the excitement I felt earlier faded as I noticed Krystal, a petite little girl for her age was quietly weeping over her latest master piece.

Not wanting to draw attention, no pun intended; to her and her current state I made my rounds asking this student or that what they were drawing finally making my way to Krystal. Kneeling down to her level, I wrapped my right arm around her shoulders and whisper, “Krystal, can you tell me what made you cry?” A snort and a rub of her nose with her fore arm across the pretty pink sweater she wore were the only signs she had even heard me but no words sprang from her trembling lips. So I tried again. “Krystal, can you tell me what your drawing is about?”

Turning her head away I heard her say, ‘no’. Looking down at her drawing in hopes of trying to figure out for myself what her creation might only caused more confusion. The brilliant white paper had been covered with light blue crayon from top to bottom. The word, ‘haven’ was written across the top in black and the words ‘mommie & Jesus’ drawn in bright purple with an arrow pointing upwards graced the bottom of the paper.

Knowing her background I knew I had to tread gently with this subject. One wrong word and I could end up causing the already cracked flood gates to open up thus the other students would end up upset as well. Picking Krystal up into my arms I lay her head on my shoulder and brought her over to the ‘quite area’. I sat down on my rocker and tried gently soothing her by rocking back and forth. After a few minutes her tears were still flowing freely. I knew I had to say something; but what?

I sent up a silent prayer and asked for guidance and without further thought I whispered, “Are you sad because Mommy is in heaven?”

Pulling her face away from my now wet shoulder she looked into my eyes, tried desperately to choke back oncoming tears and said, “Nope, cause I know she’s with Jesus. I’m sad cause I can’t member what she looks like.”

I had no idea how I was going ease her pain when suddenly I remembered I’d asked the children to draw their families earlier in the year which was before the car accident that took Krystal’s mommy. Placing Krystal down on the brightly colored breaded rug in front of me I told her I would be right back. I walked as quickly as possible over to my students art folders, flipped through them until I located Krystals which held the now treasured family picture. I brought the picture back to Krystal causing the biggest, brightest smile I’d seen on her since that tragic day.

Wiping her nose across her sweater again she dried up her face and exclaimed, “Oh Mrs. Wilkin, she’s beautiful! I look just like her!” Krystal brought the picture to her chest and hugged it as if it were her mother and added; “Now I can finish my art project.” With that she hopped up and ran back to her seat.

I on the other hand thanked my Lord for leading me through the crisis of such a delicate issue. From that day on I planned out every art class project ahead of time in hopes of never having to any cause pain to any of my precious little students.

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This article has been read 760 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mo 01/25/07
This made me a bit teary; sad, yet sweet.
Marilyn Schnepp 01/27/07
Beautiful little story, but where are your commas? Desperately in need of about twenty or more, plus perhaps semi-colins, or something...to break up your sentences, and make you a Writer of great stories. Without a comma, a story runs together haphazardly and the Reader gets lost. But very sweet story - now get the punctuation, and You'll soon be a Pro!
julie wood01/31/07
I enjoyed this story--beautiful descriptive writing! I could just see the little girl sniffling and wiping her nose against her pink sweater, and even picture her drawing vividly. Very moving. The dialogue also brought her to life.

The sentences could be a little shorter--that would make them easier to follow.

I was drawn in (no pun intended!) by the title--I like anything with the word "unlikely" in it!
Phyllis Inniss02/01/07
This is a wonderful story that brought tears to my eyes. It was very well written and I didn't even notice the absence of commas, etc. The pictures you drew in your writing were very vivid which made it a work of art in itself.