An emotionally moving story about the beauty, sacrifices, and joys of motherhood you ask? A deeply poignant narrative concerning the preciousness of the mother\ child bond? A collection of inspiring tales illustrating the unique gift each child is and brings?
No, the book he gave me is called "I Am Better Than Your Kids" by Maddox.
The introduction begins:
"Several years ago, I was waiting in a coworker's cubicle when I noticed the drawings she had on display and I told her they sucked. She gasped and said 'They were made by my four year old nephew!' So I elaborated, 'Well your nephew sucks at drawing.' I decided then that kids had gotten a free pass for far too long. So on my website, I proceeded to to grade a handful of children's art along with some pointed but fair criticism. The response was overwhelming."
The entire book is children's drawings, graded and commented on by Maddox. I sit down with this book and literally do laugh out loud. I don't just quietly and insincerely "lol" inside my head, I laugh, I giggle, snort maybe. It's no doubt very attractive. This book is refreshing. And offensive. And refreshing! After so much preciousness out there regarding the raising of modern children, that everything a child does should be affirmed, celebrated, cherished forever and ever and that children themselves should be protected, pampered, coddled and shielded from anything even remotely not sunshine and rainbows, this was just a balm to the soul.
It's hilarious, unique, and yes, most certainly, somewhat offensive if you are the sort inclined to take offense wherever you can.
But the man makes some thought provoking points. More bits and pieces from the intro:
'The two most dangerous words in the English language are 'good job'. It's a quick little lie that parents tell their kids to encourage them to keep trying. Parents are afraid that if they tell their kids the truth, the will get discouraged and stop drawing. So what? Since when is every kid supposed to be able to draw? Think about your own life for a moment, of all the people you know, how many of them are artists professionally? How many of them do something even related to art? For most people, that number is zero.
At a certain point, no amount of encouragement will make someone any better at art. Just as no amount of encouragement alone can make someone an airline pilot, engineer or heart surgeon. So why art? Why is this the one discipline that parents feel necessary to push upon their kids?
All this superfluous praise is making the world a duller place. The phrase 'good job' is the reason we don't have any Mozarts or Beethovens today."
Whether you agree or not, it's an interesting point of view and a challenging one. I am definitely guilty of " superfluous praise" and I doubt that will change. :) It's my nature. I would never look at child's drawing and say it was crap, although it doesn't stop me from enjoying this hugely insulting book wholeheartedly. I get a kick out of his candor.
But I wouldn't want him critiquing anything of mine.
My son was late to drawing and because I do love art myself, I admit, I encouraged him to draw and I am so glad I did! This is a self portrait drawn by my son. Obviously he has nothing to worry about.
(If you want a good laugh, I recommend finding this book ASAP.)