I was a teacher for decades. So I know a bad idea when I hear one. As bad ideas go, this one was a whopper. My high school students were brainstorming trying to come up with a fun activity for one of our Future Educators Association meetings. Everything I suggested was rejected. They wanted something new and exciting. I thought my ideas were creative. They looked at me like I was twice baked boredom in a casserole dish.
“I know,” said one of them, “Let’s have a paint fight!”
“Wrong!” I proclaimed loudly as they cheered right over the top of my voice. “BAD idea!” I repeated even more loudly when their cheering died down. They begged. They pleaded. They gave me rationale after rationale. I rejected every plea and promise they made. I wasn’t born yesterday. I talked about safety, the mess, the pandemonium, the lunacy, the clean up and the liability. I was eloquent.
Eventually they gave up. NOT! This argument and plea bargaining went on for months. On and on they argued. I said we couldn’t possibly do it at school. They said we could go to a park. I pointed out what the park personnel would think about us messing up their property and the court case that would follow. I talked about how it would ruin their clothes. They claimed we could make paint shirts. I said that would be fine. They said, “But only if we are wearing the shirts when we throw the paint to make them.” NO! Back to square one. This argument became the theme for the year.
After months of debate two things finally happened. They came up with an answer to every objection and I totally lost my mind…simultaneously. The end of the school year arrived. Some crazy wonderful parents volunteered their home which had a large empty field behind it. They had a power sprayer for clean up and then a pool for further cool off and a grill for cooking a picnic while the shirts dried. The plan was on. We all purchased black t-shirts. Each student was to bring in two or three colors of paint in plastic bottles. The brighter the better. It was a neon kind of a day.
The attendance? You guessed it. 100%!
The smartest girl of the day was Erica. She showed up with wearing swim goggles. Why didn’t I think of that? Don’t EVER try this activity without requiring goggles. I can’t claim that I was smart enough to outlaw this event. BUT I was smart enough to clip my shirt to the clothes line and tell them to decorate it as it hung on the line. Meanwhile I stood close to the pool and told them that NO PAINT could enter the pool area. I gave them a half-dozen rules which they promptly ignored and yelled, “GO!”
There was laughing, screaming, running, pandemonium and the biggest mess you ever saw in the vacant field. Two wonderful parents stayed patient and laughed through all of this. They spent forever spraying them off with the power washer. Some students had to even use their indoor showers to keep the paint from coloring their hair permanently. Results? No one was hurt. It is a favorite memory of everyone including me.
Every time I paint anything I grin as I wear my crazy paint shirt souvenir of that day. My grandkids always admire my shirt. They want one just like it. I’ve already bought the black shirts. Guess what I’m going to do with my grandkids on the first day of summer vacation? But NO they won’t be wearing the shirts when they splatter the paint. A gal can only take one adventure with that much insanity.