"One spring morning,
Ramon had a wonderful feeling.
It was a feeling that even ish words
and ish drawings could not capture.
He decided NOT to capture it.
Instead, he simply savored it..."
OK. Not going to lie here, this "children's book" is just as much for us adults- if not more so, than our children and that's why it is so very important!
Ish, by Peter H. Reynolds is the beautiful story of Ramon- a child that overcomes his insecurities to live "ishfully ever after." There's something so amazing and pure about children- they are naturally confident and risk-takers, but it seems that our society jades them all to early pushing them to focus on what is the "right" way to do something rather than encouraging their age-appropriate approximations.
Ramon thought of himself as an artist until his older brother saw one of his paintings and burst out laughing, "What is that?" From that day on Ramon started focusing on getting it "right" rather than enjoying his art. Eventually he ends up giving up on drawing altogether until he visits his little sister's room to find that she has turned all of Ramon's trash "wrong" drawings into a crumpled art gallery on her walls. "That was suppose to be a vase of flowers," Ramon said, "but it doesn't look like one." "Well it looks vase-ISH! " she exclaimed.
So it's true that your preschooler may not "get it" the first time you read it, but you sure will! I remember reading it to my kindergartners for the first time a few years back and tearing up at the end. One of my students consoled me by saying, "It's ok Mrs. Sayers. You can make a vase-ish flower too!" Aw, the innocence and loveliness of childhood!
Why not sit down with your little loved one and do some ish work? Big Boy and I sat down today to do some painting with water color. I've never thought of myself as an artist, but with the ish mindset you can let go of your insecurities about making something that is "good" and/or "right" and embrace the beauty of discovery and trial.
At the top of this post you will see Big Boy paining his "Bus-ISH" art and the finished product. Please excuse the facial expression- we'll just say he's being 3 :) And below his art is a little something that I call "Flower-ISH." By no means perfect or right, but I sure had a blast paining it with my son :) I think all of us adults could use a good dose of ish in our lives!