As soon as we arrived at the Church of the Holy Rosary, I got off the bus. Being the first, I was careless enough not to mind the uneven path and so promptly fell on both knees. Bruised and sore, I got to the Church and was invited to follow the lady in the photo to go upstairs. Theresa is a member of the Legion of Mary and she was kind enough to not only clean my knees but to show me hospitality by telling me about the work that she offers in the parish. Among other good works, I learnt that she teaches about 25 children with the help of some other Catholic teachers. The children come from homes where their parents may be at work. So the Church run by Fr. Frans de Ridder CICM in Taipeh offers hospitality to the children. Everything is done out of love for one’s fellow human beings, and in this case, underprivileged young children. If ever there are converts to the faith, one can be sure that some of them are the parents of these underprivileged children. By the fruits of their lives, Theresa and the others show that God is alive and merciful to all peoples. Praise God!
There on the wall were art works of some of the children. I was attracted to them and having obtained permission to take photographs of the art pieces, Theresa asked me how I would encourage the children to do better. I thought that I would do it through positive feedback. It is not surprising to find that sometimes people make harsh remarks on works done by little ones. The remarks could have been made without malice. But not understanding Child Art could cause much harm to the little artists. One could seem to be simply pouring cold water on genuine efforts. It takes so little to destroy a child’s self esteem. Lord, have mercy! Some children could have been so discouraged that they never cared to put their heart and soul into their art work. I cannot say that I have always been mindful of the way some pieces of art were produced by my own students years ago. But, thank God for lessons learnt. Thank God for renewing me. Thank God that, through the years surely, I have learnt that there is more than meets the eye.
Art, like music, is part and parcel of the entire person. To make little of the art work is tantamount to bringing down the person’s self esteem, in some ways. To accept without comment any work of art, done sincerely by someone, especially little children, would be better than trying to judge it by adult standards. If one has to say something to help the child, it might be helpful to say whatever there is to praise, and then to suggest how the work could be improved. I gave Theresa the example of helping a child to add more details. To train the child to be observant, one could pose simple questions perhaps.
A child can only do art as a child, and no adult can produce child art. Child art is charming in its own ways. It is innocent and it is untainted. I love Child Art. Praise God!