Tag: excessive organiztion

what children really need is disorganized crayons

why it's OK to color outside the lines

I’ve seen it all now, the height of micro-management. Parents organizing their children’s crayons.

crayon orgaization

crayon organization

First, of all, why is it important to organize children’s crayons?  And who has that many crayons anyway?

I mean I’m all for organizing but what’s wrong with putting all the crayons in a box and letting kids pick whatever color they like for whatever they’re wanting to draw or color? And unless the child can read, labels are only for the parent, aren’t they? And if the child can read, for what legitimate reason is it important for them to have the crayons organized by color? What are they learning?

Wouldn’t they learn more if they couldn’t find their crayons? Wouldn’t they learn about putting their things back where they belong? Wouldn’t they learn a little about responsibility? Wouldn’t they learn how to organize?

I have a bone to pick about all this and here’s the story behind that bone.

I picked up my four-year-old daughter from pre-school one day only to have her teacher tell me that she had colored “outside the lines.”  How could that possibly matter?why it's OK to color outside the lines

I about lost it. (Actually, I did.)

Frankly, I was thrilled my daughter was creative enough to ignore the lines, which I very adamantly told her teacher.

I’m somewhat of an artist. (Well, I have many of my paintings on my walls. Does that mean I’m an artist?

While there is some logic to having my paints organized, I find that I do my best work when they’re not. My painting instructor was just the opposite. I drove her nuts. I felt restricted. I didn’t want to paint inside the lines. I wanted my artwork to be mine, and that meant painting outside the lines.

But we’re talking about children. Children who should be allowed to color the sky, or grass, or people any color they want. You could say organized crayons have nothing to do with their freedom of choice but I think it does. I feel it hinders a child’s natural curiosity.

I think it suggests just the opposite. I think if the crayons were all in the same container it would encourage a child to try any color for any subject. Creativity is in serious jeopardy these days.and overly-conscientious “Pinterest moms (and dads) ” aren’t helping. Who are they organizing for anyway? Who are they trying to impress?

Many of the pins are from teachers. I can understand why organization might be important to a teacher. But I’ve been in classrooms of some great teachers and their classrooms were a mess. Can we agree that the organization might be more for the teacher than the child?  And, of course, that’s perfectly OK. I get that.

Just so you know I do believe children benefit from a home that is not chaotic and where there is structure. A disorganized messy home is as bad as an overly organized one.

When our children were little, I tried to be organized because we all functioned better if I were. Especially me. I believe in organization. I’m even reading the very popular  KonMarie method of organizing.

I like things neat because feel less stress when I look around my house and see it clean and organized. But I don’t go overboard. And if I have to be excessively organized as a means to handle my stress, then maybe I need to deal with my stress first.

For example, sometimes I find organizing my pantry helps me deal with stress. It’s like jumping on the treadmill to ward off an anxiety attack. But there may a time that doesn’t work so I need to learn to curb my stress before it gets to the “I-have-to-do-something-quick” stage.

But, for me, this is over-the-top too organized and it’s an indication of what I see all too often, children who aren’t allowed to be children. They’re entire lives are organized from the time they get up till the time they go to bed. Even during the summer months.

Children who never get a chance to lie in the grass and imagine what the clouds look like. An elephant? An airplane?

children looking up at clouds

children looking at clouds


Children who never get a chance to play in the rain and jump through mud puddles.

children and mud puddles

children and mud puddles


Children who never get a chance to make something from whatever is at hand.

children building things

I guess if some moms have to organize the crayons, so be it. There are certainly worse things. But I just think parents have to be careful that their children’s lives are not so excessively organized that they don’t have enough free time to be creative or to explore.

What do you think? Am I wrong? I’m always open to honest, respectful comments and would love to hear from you.

God bless and have a good day.

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