Woven Blessings
Fall 2009

by Sheri L. VanDuyn

“I can’t draw” and with that she pushed her drawing board back on the table, set her Charcoal pencil down and crisscrossed her arms. Yes, Alex had pretty much refused to draw anymore. As an 11th grader in my Art class we had started to draw the face. Alex was an Art 1 student with other students who had taken Art with me before and was a bit overwhelmed, but at the same time, I had also sensed that Alex was pulling the total teenage card and working the entire hour was just not her thing. Keeping a classroom of high school students constantly motivated and working at all times is a challenge that I embrace daily!

So, I had started the week by setting up a large easel in the front of the classroom with a drawing board. Instead of sketching the face in its entirety, I chose this year to draw features. I had worksheets handed out with steps showing the eyes and brow line, nose, mouth and ears. I took charcoal pencil in hand and drew large and simply the lines to shape one feature daily. Practice does make perfect! At the end of the week, students would be able to put the pieces together after talking about the head proportions and draw the entire face.

As students were drawing I walked around the room to help correct lines that are off or a bit out of proportion. I really felt that the classes were beginning to make great progress. I have always cautioned students that you will always find someone who is always better than yourself, so please do not look around or start to compare your work to others around you. Just do the best that you can! Try!

Well, after several attempts of trying and gentle nudging, I could tell that Alex was going to be stubborn. So, I quickly remembered that she was playing soccer and asked her-“If you are going to play a soccer game, don’t you have to practice first? You cannot just go out and play the game, you have to stretch, do warm ups, set up plays, practice throw ins and corner kicks because if winning a game is your ultimate goal, it is not going to just happen.”

I continued talking, walking around the room and helping students who were of course all listening and all ears. Alex started to move her drawing board, but still did not pick up her board. Again she stated, “I just can’t draw!”

 “Well, then I am just going to have to go OT on you then!” I said. Alex looked at me puzzled and one of my Advanced students said-“Old Testament!”

 I took a deep breath and inwardly thought –‘Dear Lord, let my words be yours!’ “OK, if I am going OT, let’s go Moses.  God came to Moses and said go tell Pharaoh to let my people go! Moses had the audacity to tell God-“NO!” Pick my brother Aaron! He would be better for this job; I am not a good speaker. (Then of course I muttered a bunch of words and stuttered.) God did not give Moses the option, He told him to GO! Moses was not very good with words, but God choose him for the job, not his brother and if he did not use his voice, he would never get any better with using this gift.

 “So Moses goes and tells Pharaoh, of course he will not listen and God sends plagues. My class comes up with several of the plagues and all the time I am continuing to walk around helping students to draw their eye features and they are as quiet as mice! They list lice, boils, water into blood and my favorite, frogs. Still Pharaoh is not moved, but Moses goes and does what God asks him to do-he finds his voices and his new talent! Now I ask you; can you begin to draw? If you do not at least try, you will never find out how God has blessed you.”

 Alex slowly picked up her pencil and one of my students said, “You just better start drawing, you know that she is right!”  One girl said, “I am impressed, I have heard you tell a lot of stories, but I think that was one of your best Bible stories ever and you just kept drawing and talking!” and another said, “How do you know all these stories?” I said, “Just read your Bible! Here are the stories that you can learn lessons for living everyday life!”

“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

As a side note-“Guess who is signed up to be my Art Aid for the Fall Trimester-Alex! I know that this will be a help and a blessing for me as this is her Senior year. I look forward to teaching her how to work. Alex is less than 5’ tall, a twin and adopted from Romania-she is a dynamite bundle!


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