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Finger Paints and Crayons

Finger Paints and Crayons

Found this in "Chicken Soup for the TEENAGE Soul 3 - the article is by Cheryl Costello-Forshey. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. It is long but I believe very worth reading.

Finger Paints and Crayons

With chalk in hand she wrote her name across a board once bare and then she sat behind her desk without a single care. And for fifteen minutes, she did not make a sound until the final student had settled down. Then she stood before them, and told them all her name and then politely asked each student to do the same. Then without hesitation, she took papers from a sack and placed them in two piles, one white, the other black and deliberately, quite slowly, with a slight, mischievous smile she began handing out the papers, up and down the aisle. And once each student had a piece; she continued within their sights to gather two piles of crayons, one black, the other white and then she took a painting, from behind her walnut desk. Then placed a painters smock, overtop her navy dress and to no one in particular, she spoke in peaceful tones, “I've been working on this painting, for years in my own home."

She stood staring at the painting, its brilliant colors mixed as one upon a vast horizon. The presence of a sun it indeed was not a Rembrandt, a Picasso, or Michelangelo to say the least but it none the less was beautiful. Its presence spoke of peace and no doubt that lovely painting, had taken so much time for every color known to man, seemed to intertwine. And so it came with wonder, what they witnessed with surprise the act that took them all off guard. Done right before their eyes with finger paints now gathered, and opened on her desk she smeared the colors upon her hands in an entangled awful mess and then as though she'd lost her mind, she smeared her hands across the painting once so beautiful... Now a total loss it did not make a bit of since, they did not understand as they sat and watched their teacher, wipe the paints from off her hands and then she took the crayons, and went up and down the rows and handed to each student, the colors that she chose. "Now," she told her students, "I want you to create a picture filled with beauty, devoid of any hate." Mouths dropped open widely; mumbles filled the room and students looked to one another, as unasked questions seemed to loom for the students with white paper, were given crayons the same shade and the students with black crayons, had been given a raven-colored page and how could one create splendor, with no colors to mix and match. The students were quite certain, their teacher had left out most of the facts. “Teacher," a students voice was heard, "I'm not so sure I can", staring at the white crayon and the white paper in her hand. Silence overtook the room; it eerily crept about causing the teacher's gentle voice, to erupt into a shout, "You each share the same problem. You each possess the power to resolve." But only the students with open minds will have the ability to solve."

Minutes ticked away, class was nearing to an end and not a single student, knew quite how to begin and when the bell rang out, and they hurried to their feet their teacher told them commandingly, to return back to their seats. "Before you leave this classroom, I think you each should know for this assignment you receive a failing grade, for you have no work to show. And tomorrow and the next day, your assignment shall be the same. And those who fail my class will have only themselves to blame." The next day and the following, students weren't quite sure what to do until at last, a solution, began to surface through when one student with his crayon, and paper both in black turned to the student behind him and asked, "May I borrow that?"

The student hesitated, but then gave up his crayon made of white and ultimately the assignment, no longer seemed a plight for the students all throughout the class, switched crayons up and down the aisles and certain that they'd found the solution, their faces lit with smiles. And just as every student began to draw, across an empty page the teacher whom they'd all began, to see as certainly quite strange collected all the pages and crayons, without a single mark and then spoke aloud, "Thank you, for bringing hope into my heart. You see, I wanted you to realize, that in order to create a picture filled with beauty, devoid of any hate you needed first to recognize, that a problem did exist and that a practical solution, could be found within your midst. And that racism is a problem, each of us must face working all as one, before it's much too late and with open eyes and open hearts; we must see the person, not the color of their skin and come to the understanding that racism has to end. For together we are a family, we cry tears, we all feel pain and though we may not look the part, that's exactly what we do. For crayons are just colors, that's all our skin is, too."

Students looked about the room, a variety of colors on their skin. As the point she was trying to make, began to settle in the looks upon their faces, readily explained that they were each trying to contemplate: that indeed they were the same, a nervous shuffling of papers, and coughs throughout the room portraying the vital image, that fighting over crayons was a stupid thing to do. It was then each student realized the purpose of crayons and papers. The same shade was to prove they each needed the other color, to help fill their empty page.

Silence seized the moment, as one student raised his open hand and then spoke in hesitation. "I just don't understand... Why you took your painting, the one you seemed to enjoy so very much, gathered up your finger paints, to destroy it in a touch."

Sadness filled her face, as a tear trailed upon her cheek and in slow and heartfelt words, she began to speak, "To show you each that colors can be beautiful, but they can also destroy everything we love and work for. Everything we each enjoy and the destruction of something that I loved, was to make a point to you that racism destroys the beauty in us all, and that fighting over colors, is a destructive thing to do."

This article is by Cheryl Costello-Forshey

In God's eyes we're all the same color and equally important!

Submitted by Richard

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