DADDY DIARIES: Creative parents? Not at my son’s school

Wednesday July 03 2019

The once talkative guy beside me drew a sun what was more like an octopus. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH


My boy’s school has this thing called the Bookworm Week at the beginning of every second term.

Basically, a parent is asked to help their child read a book of their choice over the holidays long enough for the young one to internalise and tell the story to the class during the bookworm week.

After this, the teachers come in to teach about synopsis, themes and styles so that they relate text to real life and understand the message better.

Parents were then called to school on the final day of the week in what looked like a normal parents’ day. It was not.


All was going on well until every parent was asked to draw the main character in the book their young one had been reading.


Each one of us was allocated a desk for two; your young one seated beside you as he or she narrated the story to help you craft the human or animal character.

My son’s book was Finding Nemo, which made it easier to visualise and come up with a fish. I had also been lucky enough to watch the animation on TV.

I’ll tell you for free that these men and women in high-end suits, high heels and elegant jewelry cannot draw to save their lives.

The same puffed up people who had earlier on been nudging their juniors about working hard were deflated faster than I’ve ever seen a balloon do.


The children were so excited about their parents having an assignment all you could hear were giggles. You see, the books had been kept away because we were supposed to visualise then transfer this into an image, so we could not copy from the source. We had also been instructed to keep our phones away because such gadgets are not allowed in a classroom setup, so Google University was out of the question. I saw people’s eyes droop like the ears on a dog; they knew that in not so long their secret would be all out in the open; before fellow parents, teachers and the children they tower over back home.


The once talkative guy beside me drew a sun what was more like an octopus. Then he decided to get even more creative and coloured it bright yellow . . . it quickly resembled a badly shaped plain omelette. The problem with children is that they do not know how to hide opinion, excitement or disappointment, so the young girl beside him was there shouting “no daddy, your sun looks bad, not like that!”

The inquisitive me craned my neck to see drawings from other desks; the parents were not doing very well.

The very quiet lady to my left seemed to be the only serious artist going by how much effort she put in.

She had even curled herself into the shape of a brooding chicken just to get the best position for her pencil and paper.

I was wrong; she had drawn a chicken egg, but it was so tiny it reminded me of a grain of peas.

She was kind enough not to colour it, I believe because hers was the egg with a white shell. Her son did not snitch on her, or rather was too astonished to say what was on his mind about mom’s drawing.


To make matters worse, the teachers asked us to pin our pieces of creativity on the huge board inside the classroom as everyone watched.

One by one we walked to the board with paper glue, laughing loudly at each other’s drawing.

By the time the session was done I could still not make out what some of those parents intended to express through those drawings on the wall, but I totally understood them.

Just like me, they were mostly victims of parents who despite not providing crayons and drawing books when we were young, beat the Hell out of us for drawing on walls with chalk and charcoal.

Our creativity was therefore not allowed to grow into its full potential.


It was a lesson to all of us that one; we need to provide materials around the house for our young ones to express themselves and get creative. Two, it is prudent to take a keen interest in the assignments allocated to our children because then we are able to get a feel of what literature they feed on.

It was essentially a parents’ day to discuss not the performance of their children but of themselves.

I have since bought a huge drawing board that I scribble images on when I am idle, I will show them what I’m made of next time they ask us to draw anything. No more embarrassments!