Blank Paper Scare

Blank Paper Scare:

In one curriculum I used for Sunday School, primary-age children (Grades 1-3) were asked to draw a picture of one way they could worship God. The curriculum workbook provided a page with a small border on it, and the center of the page was left blank for the students to draw their pictures.

The children came up with several ways they could worship God. However, many of them just stared at the blank page because they couldn’t figure out how to draw their ideas on the page. It was as though they were artists, who were afraid to put the first dab of paint on their empty canvas. It sounds silly, I know, but the students just stared at the paper with puzzled looks on their faces.

“How can I draw that?” one student asked. Then I asked some of the students what they wanted to draw. Some of the students wanted to draw pictures of people praying or singing worship songs. When I figured out the students wanted to draw people doing activities, I understood their plight.

Figure drawing or even creating cartoon people can be some of the most difficult subjects to draw. This assignment would have been difficult for most adult people, especially those without artistic talent. The children even hesitated to try drawing stick men. They just stared at their pages or me with a blank look on their faces.

I encouraged the students to try drawing, and some did. Perhaps I should have told them to draw objects like Bibles, offering plates, or praying hands but I didn’t think of it at that time. I was still pondering the idea of the students having a “Blank Paper Scare.”

From this experience I learned that lessons that appear to be simple can sometime turn out to be much more difficult than we realize. Also, it may help the students if we can come up with a simpler way for them to express their ideas on paper.