“Tears are streaming down my face right now as I type these words. It is heartbreaking to know that all my life I tried so hard to…” ~Cindy Lietz
It may be a midlife crisis thing… or maybe just because I am continually immersed in creative thinking… but I do find myself putting a lot of thought into trying to figure out who I am as a creative being… and how can I pass along my passions to help others discover themselves as well.
Like so many other artists, I too have struggled with identity issues, for most of my life.
Well, as The Universe would have it, all things that you focus on seem to come together into one cohesive picture. That is, if you are looking for clues.
A few of these clues have been collecting in my life from seemingly unrelated sources. First, just before Christmas, my Mom gave me a box of keepsakes from my childhood. In there was some workbooks, some drawings and some poems from Elementary School. There was one item in particular that spoke to me deeply. A scrapbook filled with questions, assignments and projects related to a field trip I took to the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton Alberta when I was in Grade 6. In a minute, I’ll explain why what I found in that book made me cry, and why it is relevant to this post.
Another piece to this puzzle is of course, my journey with you. Creating new polymer clay tutorials, week after week, year after year (over 250 now, and counting)… has not only been a challenge to pull off, but also a growing experience for me as a person and as a teacher. It has made me really think hard about how people learn, and as a result, what should be taught.
Because of the commitment Doug and I have made to delivering new videos every week, it really has forced me to continue learning new stuff all the time. To stay ahead of the pack so to speak. And that is invaluable to any teacher. This constant learning on my part keeps the knowledge that you are receiving, current and relevant. Which, trust me, not all teachers are doing. Just ask Willow about her 80 year old French teacher! LOL!
The third piece of this epiphany collection (good things always come in threes don’t they), is this video that Doug just sent me. It is of Sir Ken Robinson and his views on Education, Creativity, Passion and Online Learning. Why don’t you have a quick watch. It will set the stage for the for the rest of the post…
Now after watching that clip, and reflecting on what he said about teaching and learning, I would like to return to my story about the workbook I found in the box of childhood schoolwork.
The scanned image below of my childhood handwriting, is what I found inside the book, that made me cry. And as another amazing coincidence (believe me I only realized it today when I dug this out again for this post), it happened to be written at Easter time…
The Show House At Easter by Cindy Lee Ross (Lietz) age 11
As I walked up the ramp the sweet fragrance of fresh spring time flowers filled the air. When I entered the pyramid a field of colourful blooms greeted my eyes. A sea of creamy white Easter lilies welcomed me like a trumpet band.
Crimson red, golden yellow and blushing pink tulips stood at attention along the pathways. Clusters of sunshine yellow daffodils sang “Happy Easter” from their shining crowns. The daisy-like cineraria smiled with their freshly painted faces. The Muttart conservatory Show House at Easter is a paradise of blossoms.
What made me cry when I read this was how I felt for the little girl that wrote that beautiful piece. Do you recognize her writing in the color recipe posts? That little girl was passionate about flowers, colors and the beauty they presented when you were exposed to them. She described them in detail, with feeling and pure joy. She is exactly who I have struggled so hard to become after all these years. The girl I am today, was there all along.
And do you know what… to this day I still remember the feedback from my teacher about this little story… “Cindy you clearly love flowers, but you spent too long on that write-up and didn’t do a good enough job on the rest. The project was incomplete and the work was messy.” She pretty much said what all the teachers, minus a few angels, said about my work. “Cindy’s head is in the clouds and she needs to knuckle down and get some work done. Stop being such a dreamer!”
Tears are streaming down my face right now as I type these words. I can’t help it. It is heartbreaking to know that all my life I tried so hard to be better at what I wasn’t good at, and undervalued and pushed aside what was clearly easy and natural for me. I am sorry little one, that it took so long for me to find you… but at least now you are happy, dreaming your life away, and teaching others to dream too!
Sir Ken said so many things that speak to this very problem in the way that most children are taught today, and how our education systems are in dire need of change. New technologies (like our online video tutorials) make it possible for students to learn at their own pace in the way that works best for them. Good teachers have always been able to do that for their students… teach in a way that works best for the student. Sir Ken said that teaching is an art form… that technology alone won’t be enough, but in the hands of good teachers and engaged and imaginative students, it could.
He also speaks of the importance of finding yourself. In order for one to be in your element, you must be doing something that you’re good at and get… and you have to love it. Well I tell you I am in my element now, sharing my passion for color, flowers and polymer clay!
Thank you all for being part of my journey to find myself. I hope that I can be part (if only in a small way) of your journey of self discovery too. So go on… get your head in the clouds… let your inner child out… you deserve to be happy!