Today I was out faithfully doing my daily aerobic on my neighborhood walking path, chuffing along, keeping a safe distance from the occasional fellow walkers course; when I came across a number of chalk drawings on the walkway every few hundred yards. Sidewalk chalk drawings are now becoming an excellent outlet for those mostly cooped up inside and are often meant to give observers comforting gestures and messages. They seem to be appearing everywhere; on sidewalks, streets, and walls. It's sort of the new temporary graffiti!
However, my "walk-chalk" drawings were a bit different today. There was something quite simple about these drawings. The art seemed to be quick expressions of images and thoughts. I was anxious to get to the next one along the line, then the next, and then the next, picking up my pace, which certainly helped my exercise! As I passed what I imagined might have been the last one, a rainbow and a sun scribbled on the cement looking like they were purposely drawn near each other, I looked up and noticed a ahead along the pathway, a mom and her little preschool girl carrying an overflowing bucket of chalk. You know, the kind you find in the bulk aisle of the toy store. I could hear the little girl say, "Mommy, this will cheer them up, cuz the sun and the rainbow are good friends".
I stopped to take a photo and remember, young children have a wonderful ability to tell stories through their drawings, and quite frankly anywhere and at any time! Yes, if you stop for a moment and observe, you will find that a child's insight on life is simple yet meaningful. Some call it an innocence in a much-to-learn world, but if you watch and listen, they have an innate ability to look at things as they are and make the most of whatever is happening around them.
As I am sure, many of you with little ones at home during this extraordinary time are often looking for things to help them get through the daily sameness. If you haven't already, what you might want to try, is getting down on the floor and play right beside them. Listen to how they play. Listen to the stories they tell, as strange as they sometimes are. "The cow sits on the barn top so he can watch over the chickens, while the farmer eats noodles.". I once overheard a little one saying while he played with his animal figures. They have an innocent non-filter that helps create their imaginative world and sometimes points out that the simplest things are sometimes the most poignant.
Those toys are more than just fanciful objects to a young child. They are the tools that ignite their imaginations and allow them to tell those stories. That's why toys which are designed for open-ended stories are such essential tools in the toy box! If you really want to hear some super stories, have them draw with a crayon or that chalk and then have them tell you a story about what they just made. It will brighten your day, give you pause, and help them build their important communication skills. Even better have them tell you the story with their toys. Life may seem a bit more calm for you!
Each day as I walk by that sun and rainbow chalk drawing, I smile, and even though it is fading away slowly each day, I remember what the little girl told her mother, "...this will cheer them up...". and wouldn't you know it, there's a new drawing and story that very next day!
These chalk drawings fade away, much like the horrendous health situation eventually will, but those stories will remain. Listen, and you both will learn something new.