1.   Model Building

From: "N. Swaminathan" <>
To: <>
Dear Dr. Loganathan:

Your  "Family Portrait" series made interesting reading. This reminds of a short TV movie I saw several years ago.

The movie begins with a coach instructing the boys in a small summer camp where they stay for a few days, play games and learn making clay models. They are allowed to take their work home and give it as a present to their parents.
One of the boys, Aaron Gold , 10, is somewhat moody and reflective though  follows instructions and learns quick. In the clay models class they are taught to make a small replica of a Greek warrior with a shield in the left hand and a sword in the right. All the boys in the team got it right but Aaron. Aaron's warrior had the sword in the right hand, but no shield. The coach points out this mistake. Hey, how can your warrior protect himself with no shield, he argues.
The boy nods and mumbles, but makes no effort to correct this. Few days pass and the next day the parents would arrive at the camp to check their children's progress and examine their work.
The coach is determined to make a good impression on the parents so that they would re-enroll their kids in his camp in the coming years. The coach makes a final check at the workshop to see if all the boys have their work completed for exhibition. Finding Aaaron's soldier is still incomplete, the coach decides to finish it for him. He puts the left hand with the shield on the warrior.  When he gets up with a satisfactory smile, Aaron enters the workshop and takes a good look at the completed figure.  He becomes very upset and runs out of the door with tears in his eyes. The coach is confused as to
why Aaron did not appreciate his work or at least  had the courtesy to thank him for completing it.

Next day, in the  camp office a man enters and asking for his son, Aaron Gold. The coach looks at him. He is wearing a full suit. The left arm of his coat is hanging loose, folded back and pinned at the shoulder. Yes, the man had no left arm.  The coach suddenly realizes why Aaron's warrior had  no arm and shield, for, he had cast it in his father's image !

I am sure pictorial clues  will offer a rewarding insight to the children's mental imagery.   Isn't there a possibility, however, in small children whose artistic abilities are not yet well developed, we may infer   erroneous conclusions? For instance, a child that loves both parents equally may draw their figures  disproportianately , leading us to think that the child admires one of them more than the other.

N. Swaminathan
Los Angeles