Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"The Free Things"

For Veterans Day at work today, I xeroxed an American flag on the color copier at work (this is a great resource) and invited the residents to paint their own flags with watercolors.

Some people need a painting prompt––if I don't provide one, they ask, "what are we painting?" and if I say stuff like, "whatever you want," they just won't paint anything. 

Others always do their own thing no matter what. Some people find it very satisfying to paint straight lines, and they especially got into painting the red stripes. One woman repeatedly asked me to count her thirteen stripes to make sure she had the right number.

While they were painting, I asked, "What do we love about America?"

Only a couple people can respond to open-ended questions like that, but once in a while I like to throw one out.

"We have a lot of . . . the free things."

[coupons? sales? social welfare programs?]

"Oh," I said, "freedom?"

"Yes! Freedom!" 

Trying to engage the residents provides a real workout for my memory: I also dredged up all the songs about America I'd ever learned in grade school, such as "Home on the Range," "This Land Is Your Land," "Grand Old Flag", "God Bless America," and the "Star-Spangled Banner." 

The residents and I knew most of the words to these songs, etched in  our brains long ago, though we did mangle the national anthem's lyrics. Everybody does that, right? 
["o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming..."?]


Zhoen said...

I like being told what to draw, or I tend to go blank, same as when I was in school. "Anything" is an answer that doesn't work for me, either. One of those built in things, I think.

Fresca said...

I like a prompt myself---we whose brains aren't damaged may be able to provide our own; many of the people I work with cannot anymore.