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Back To The Drawing Board

“I used Colour My Boots as an example of resilience and making mistakes for our One Day Program. The children responded really well, all seeing a little of themselves in Christina, nodding with the perfectionist tendencies and agreeing with the frustration of wanting to do something in the ‘right’ way . . .The ability to see something good in mistakes was a great example to show the children.” Lyndal

Another crumpled piece of paper was thrown into the bin. Christina sighed. This ‘striving for excellence’ drove her desire to produce a perfect picture. She returned to her ‘drawing board’ to start again.

Fear of failure can be a persistent, confining mindset that curtails adventure and new initiatives. In 1953, The Rocker Chemical Company tried to create a product to displace moisture and lubricate almost anything; as well as remove grease and grime. Today, WD-40 is used world-wide. WD stands for water displacement: and the number 40 stands for the 40th attempt to come up with a solution. Thirty-nine times they went back to the drawing board. What if they had given up on the 19th attempt? What if they had given up on the 34th attempt?

Resilience is a quality to be treasured. Fear of failure needs to be shown the door. For Christina, her perseverance paid off but in a new way that she could not contemplate at the beginning of her story. F. Wikzek said, “If you don’t make mistakes, you are not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.”




Collect the following items:

Paper towelling

1 container (like a rectangular food storage tub)

Primary-coloured Textas, like Christina and her friends used.


  1. Place some water in the bottom of the container.

  2. Make three circles of colour in the lower portion of the paper towelling, using the different coloured textas.

  3. Insert one end of the paper towelling gently in the water.

  4. Hold the paper towelling and watch how the absorption of water travels upwards.

  5. Discover what happens when it reaches the circles of colour.

Note: This could be messy, so be prepared to clean up.

Melting and Absorption


A three year old watched the toast being buttered for breakfast. After a minute or two, she asked her mum if she could have some butter on her toast. Puzzled, her mum told her she had just watched her buttering the toast. “But Mummy,” she replied, “the toast ate that.”

Discuss how the process of melting changes the form of butter from a solid to a liquid and how it is absorbed into the toast.

Spark Discussion


  1. Talk with an adult about the principles of absorption and melting.

  2. Discuss how these observable changes could be likened to a change in thinking, especially after making a mistake.

  • Absorption could be likened to embracing a challenge when a mistake has been made - like when Chelsea asked Christina to stop and assess what happened by retrieving the crumpled paper from the bin.

  • Melting – changing from one form to another – could be likened to changing an attitude from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. In her story, Christina “dried her angry tears,” looked at her mistakes and saw something new.


References: Lyndal Reid, Educational Consultant & Program Facilitator – AUSTRALIAN GIFTED SUPPORT CENTRE

van Donge, Gloria (2017). Colour My Boots in The Gifted Kid Book Series.

WD-40. See Norm Larsen wanted to develop a line of rust-prevention solvents and degreasers for use in the aerospace industry. Cited 23rd July, 2018.


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