A message from Arno Stern:
Schools are closed, museums are closed: Parents give their children leaves and a pen and witness the regeneration of their children’s spontaneous traces.
As long as they do not give them models, outlines to colour in, because without these prostheses, which they have been taught, the child would not know what to draw. The world of children, the world that corresponds to their personality, cannot coincide with models. It can only be formed according to an impulse that is preserved by every rule, by every model. One should not be surprised if the child initially behaves like a student who is used to carrying out an instruction. But once he has become accustomed to this attitude, he will have real pleasure in discovering himself and becoming aware of his untried genius.
Your children will discover their creative abilities thanks to your stimulating presence. Certain conditions must be part of every child’s habits – I say his hygiene. I urge you not to exacerbate the paralysis of the child, but to take advantage of the present situation: Create this good habit every day, devote yourself to this moment of complicity with your child or children.
Give them the essentials: a sheet of A4 paper and a ballpoint pen.
Stand next to the child and watch them play. He does not need any advice. Suggest nothing. Your presence is in itself an agreement that encourages complicity. When the child has finished playing, exchange his or her piece of paper for another one. Create and maintain this encouraging atmosphere. Renounce the habit of asking for comments. Be aware that what is expressed by the track is not compatible with verbal language.
What I propose to you and what I practice with my children and what I practice with my grandchildren gives me much pleasure. If you offer it to your children as a ritual, believe me, it heals many wounds. Do not expose these marks, but put them in a locker or drawer. Once they’re chilled after they’re done, they shouldn’t be relevant. Playing a game is not the same as creating a work, because a game produces nothing, it is experienced in its unfolding.
Do not rob yourself of this joy!
If you hesitate, if you do not trust the secret nature of the child, tell yourself that it was I who recommended it to you. I take responsibility for it. It is based on my 70 years of practice.
Arno Stern Mar 2020, (c) Institut Arno Stern
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)