Every morning, he stressed to his students “I need you boys to make it a habit to put the greatest possible effort into your work.” Every morning he told them that same thing with the same emphasis and enthusiasm as the morning before.
He needed his boys to understand that art was noble work. He needed his boys to understand the importance of being able to drown things out and focus on one thing and one thing only. He wanted his boys to be able to employ an incredible amount of self-reliance and self-control when working with acrylics.
The teacher explained to them that art teaches you to think. It teaches you to use your judgement. It creates a very powerful dialogue within yourself that translates into critical thought later in life. He stressed the idea that the lines on his paper weren’t random or arbitrary but part of a organized and orchestrated process. The length of the line, the width of the line, the shade of the line, every move was purposeful.
He explained to them that the reason for their frustration was because of a lack of understanding and that it was completely okay. The teacher worked with them through their anger, masking it as only a distraction from their work. His remedy for dealing with an angered child was simply telling them to focus and to just draw.
The boys learned to never give up on their work. The boys learned to control their frustrations. The boys gained the courage and adapted the perseverance to continue and work through their mistakes. The teacher always told his boys “If you give up on this painting today, what are you going to give up on tomorrow?”
The teacher knew they would rather be playing baseball or soccer with their friends. The teacher knew that they would rather be at an adventure camp for the summer instead of an art class. But the teacher wanted his boys to become strong-minded men. He wanted his boys to be able to analyze and appreciate to a degree that totally surpassed what their young peers were capable of.
The teacher was trying to condition them. He was trying to get them ready for disappointments far worse than coloring outside of the line. He wanted to make sure that his boys had the ability to regroup after disappointment. He wanted to make sure that they would be able to continue moving forward and focus on what matters.
These were things the teacher himself was never able to do. He was never able to deal with the way she left him. He never found the ability to regroup after that disappointment. He was never able to move forward and focus on what mattered. The teacher wanted to make sure that his boys didn’t turn out like that in the future.
That’s why he continues to teach. That’s why he stresses characteristics such as perseverance, courage, self-reliance, and self-control. He knows what words can do to someone, and he just wants to make sure his boys can handle it.