Robert Fulghum, in his book All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten, tells how good friends of his asked him to be godfather of their newly born child. He felt honoured and took the task seriously.
Among the things he introduced to the child was the beginner’s set of Crayola - “...the short, fat, thick ones with training-wheels.” Over several weeks, he would take a crayon and show him how to make a mark with it."
After going through several phases, including “the orifice-stuffing phase”, the boy made “...a big red mark with the Crayola on a sheet of newsprint. And WHAM! He got the picture. A light bulb went off in a new room in his head. And he did it again on his own. Now, reports his mother, with a mixture of pleasure and pain, there is no stopping him.”
Fulghum says that using crayons, along with imagination, seem to make a child happy. He also said, “What I notice is that every adult or child I give a new set of Crayolas to, goes a little funny. The kids smile, get a glazed look on their faces, pour the crayons out, and just look at them for a while. Then they go to work on the nearest flat surface and will draw anything you ask, just name it. The adults get the most wonderful kind of sheepish smile on their faces - a mixture of delight and nostalgia and silliness. And they immediately start telling you about all their experiences with Crayolas.”
He imagines all the sheets of paper there must be in every country in the world. He imagines world leaders, at some time in their lives, using crayons.
Then he says, “Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A Beauty Bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.”
As readers may be thinking, Fulghum says, “Guess that sounds absurd, doesn’t it? A bit dumb. Crazy and silly and weird.”
But then he thinks about the millions of dollars countries spend on weapons, and he thinks about the damage and hurt and pain those weapons cause. And he knows he’s “not confused about what’s weird and silly and crazy and absurd” about that. Nor is he confused about “the lack of, or need for, imagination in low or high places.”
He realizes that to create a more peaceful world, we and other countries need to find ways to create such a world. We need to encourage our leaders to use their imaginations, and work toward such a world.
May it be so for us!
Harvie Barker is a Penticton resident and writer of inspirational messages. He’s the author of the books, A Good Word in Season, available at the front desk of The Herald for $10. All proceeds are donated to local charity.