Coloring Outside of the Lines

Albert Einstein once said: “Live life to the fullest. You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece. Laugh some every day, keep growing, keep dreaming, keep following your heart. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

When I was a little girl, I remember my parents always telling me to color inside the lines. Now that I’m a mom, I find myself doing the same thing to my children. Looking at this quote, I’m trying to think of the reasoning behind why I ask my kids to do this task and why my parents insisted on it with me. Is it so important to color inside the lines?

Society nowadays calls for kids to be in the “norm”: Go to school, get good grades, follow directions, and eventually go to college (with other things shoved in the middle). I guess I’m starting to re-think having my kids do this diminutive task. So what if they are different? So what if they don’t color in the lines? It makes them more exceptional in a small way on paper, however, looking at the bigger picture, it makes them irreplaceable in the long run if they don’t. Coloring outside of the lines makes them see their world differently. They become an individual who sees and perceives things outside of the box. They become themselves. Something small like this in letting them color however they want, leads them to a world of open possibilities to explore.

My reasoning behind choosing this topic to write about today was because I myself color in the lines way too much. I am who I am and I don’t necessarily want to change all of me, but thinking about it now in this context, it makes me think about the possibilities I could endure if I perhaps started to scribble a little and get messy. Perhaps start to laugh some more every day without letting so much get me down. Keep dreaming of things I might not be able to achieve tomorrow but at least the dream is in my soul and not fading. And, to me, most importantly, keep following my heart; something I have a hard time doing. As Einstein reminds us above, “The important thing is not to stop questioning,” always think of the possibilities that surround us. What can we do today to make tomorrow better?

Mary Beth Evans, CPSS
NLCMHA Recovery Coordinator