On the first day of school, the little boy waved to his mother
and turned to run down the bright hallway to class. His
teacher smiled and pointed out his desk. “This is going to
be great,” he thought. “I love to learn new things.” After a few fun
stories, the teacher handed out crayons and paper and announced
that it was time to draw a picture. The little boy enthusiasticallygrabbed the crayons and began to imagine all the things he could
draw: mountains, lakes, airplanes, his family, his dog, the ocean,
the stars at night…
Hundreds of ideas raced through his creative little mind.
His teacher, seeing that he had started drawing, stopped him
and said that today the class would be drawing flowers. The
boy’s mind again ran wild: daisies, daffodils, roses, carnations,
violets, lilacs, pansies, mixed bouquets, green gardens full of
rainbows of colors…
The teacher again interrupted, informing the class that today
they would be drawing a certain kind of flower.
Taking colored chalk, the teacher went to the board and drew
a green stem, with two leaves, and four identical pink petals. The
little boy, eager to please, dutifully copied her drawing.
After several attempts, his drawing looked exactly like hers.
The teacher congratulated him for doing such good work.
As the school year passed, the little boy became a very good
student; he learned to listen, obey instructions and get the right
answers on tests. His parents were very proud of him, and his
teacher was impressed with his excellent progress.
When the next school year arrived, the boy had done so well
in his classes that he was enrolled in an accelerated program.
During the first week of class, the teacher handed out crayons and
paper and announced that it was time to draw a picture. The little
boy, still in love with art, enthusiastically picked up his crayons
and waited for instructions.
After several minutes the teacher noticed that the little boy
wasn’t drawing. “Why haven’t you started?” she asked. “Don’t you
like to draw?”
“I love to draw,” responded the little boy, “but I was waiting for
you to tell us what the assignment is.”
“Just draw whatever you want,” the teacher smiled and left the
little boy to his creativity.
The little boy sat for a long time, watching the minutes tick
off the clock and wondering what he should draw. Nothing came
to mindFinally, in a burst of creative inspiration, he picked up his
crayons and began to draw:
A green stem, with two leaves, and four identical pink petals.9
The story is indicative of an entire generation of American
education, which has been called “the cloning of the American
mind.” Fortunately, the tragedy is not complete because many
parents across the nation are reaffirming their role in educating
Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “The philosophy of the
schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government
in the next.”