The Dot by Peter Reynolds is one of my favorite books. This picture book is a reflection on how to nurture creativity in people. It is simple. It is beautiful. It is insightful.
The story begins with a boy in an art class. He sits with a blank piece of paper in front of him. He is frustrated because he “can’t draw.” His art teacher asks him to make a mark on the paper. The boy slams his pencil onto the paper and makes a dot. “There!”, he says. The teacher admires the dot and says “Now sign it?” The boy is surprised, but he signs it and leaves.
The next week, he returns to art class to see his autographed dot framed and mounted above his teacher’s desk. Astonished, the boy looks at the dot and says “I can make a better dot THAT!” He proceeds to create red dots, purple dots, little dots, big dots, on and on. His dot creation is so profuse that he holds an art show to share his creations with the world.
What happens at the exhibit is wonderful. I won’t share it with you here, but it is well worth getting the book to find out.
The message of this book is that everyone must begin somewhere. It takes a great deal of bravery to stick our toes in the world of drawing or painting or writing or cooking or whatever. Making this initial venture can be scary, and whether or not a person continues will lie greatly on how the public reacts to their work.
This is where The Dot demonstrates the importance of that reaction. We MUST cherish new ventures. Every venture is better than the vacant space that would be present if nothing was tried. Every venture needs to have a supporter who cherishes the bravery and fortitude necessary to begin this experiment.
When our children/students/friends "make a dot", we must support them. We must ask them to sign the dot and cherish what they have created. This can nurture the strength it requires to do it again.
We MUST Cherish their Dots!