Roger Harty: Conditioning (Flowers Are Red)

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rsz_roger_hartyOUR conditioning (the way we were brought up from childhood) is truly the most important aspect of our lives – it is what moulds us and shapes us as individuals and it is what creates an outlook on our world whether that be negative or positive.

The one great piece of news that I can give you is that, given the right environment and awareness as human beings, we have both the ability and possibility of changing this conditioning for the better, simply because we always have choice.

Even when the choice isn’t good we can always choose our reaction.

We cannot always change what is happening in our world, but we always have the freedom to change how we react to what is happening in our world.

They say that music, poetry, literature (the arts in general!) can often describe perfectly what is sometimes difficult to put into words.

With regard to the whole subject of our conditioning and the effect it can have on our lives, nothing captures this more for me than that magical song by Harry Chapin (December 7, 1942 – July 16, 1981) an American singer-songwriter.

The title of the song is ‘Flowers are Red’ and can be viewed here…

The song tells the story of a little boy who on the first day of school started drawing pictures of flowers using many different colours.

The teacher (sung by Chapin in a falsetto voice) tells him that he should not be colouring because it is not time for art, and in any case, the boy is colouring the flowers all wrong and that he should paint them red and green, “the way they always have been seen.”

The boy disagrees and continues to colour them from his imagination until the teacher punishes him by standing him in a corner.

Finally, the now terrified little boy gives in and tells the teacher that “flowers are red, and green leaves are green.”

When he goes to a different school, a new teacher encourages her students to use all sorts of colours, only to find the student only colouring his flowers red and green; when the new teacher asks the boy why, he meekly responds by quoting his previous teacher—”flowers are red, and green leaves are green.”

I humbly suggest that you take the time to listen to this song and connect with the real story that Harry was trying to portray.

I believe he wrote this song as a result of a direct experience that he had with the teacher of his own son. He felt that his son’s creative abilities were being dulled and he wrote this song as a consequence. “Thank you Harry”.

I suppose it gives some form of credence to the fact that ‘You might never remember what you are taught but you will always remember how you were taught’.

I’m sure every single person reading this article will have a different opinion of our educational system, some good and some unfortunately downright horrific.

It is not so long ago (perhaps 50 years!) when a child writing with his left hand was thought to be possessed by the devil and the use of the right hand was simply enforced ‘for the benefit of the child!’

Also children with conditions like dyslexia were dismissed to the back of the class and regarded as being somewhat stupid.

It was unfortunate, but it is very important to accept that these sort of behaviours happened if only to give due recognition in order to move forward.

Thankfully the modern educational system is much more enlightened and many of these antiquated beliefs are now cast to the bowels of history and nowadays there is much more emphasis on ‘learning support’.

It (the educational system) is far from perfect, but it is recognising more and more that it is of far more importance that the modern education system creates an environment for learning that recognises that every child has a creative power source within.

It is the simple job of our educators to recognise and ignite that spark. This can only be done with a strong supportive, clear, government educational policy.

‘If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you get there!’

Next week I am going to write about the two most dangerous words – ‘I Know’

• Roger Harty is a life coach and can be contacted on 087-6128336, on twitter at @Innerjoyz1 or by email

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