What Should We Do With Our Blank Slate?

My older brother built a stage in our basement for my kids last week! We painted the wall behind the stage with chalkboard paint. This way, the kids and their friends can draw whatever scene or message they want for their plays and performances. 

The chalkboard paint has a special warning on it:

Wait three days before drawing on chalkboard surface. 

You can imagine how hard it is for my kids to wait! They are eager to draw their first scene and perform their first show. In the meantime, I can't help wonder what other uses we might find for this chalkboard wall. 

Can you come up with some suggestions for my family?

Share your ideas in the comments below. (Write your comment, or record your comment using video or audio.)

Review this reference page on "Should" to make sure you know how to make suggestions and give advice. Here are some starters for you: 

  • You should...
  • Your daughter should...
  • Your son should...
  • Your husband could...
  • The kids and their friends could...
  • You ought to...
  • Why don't you...?
  • I recommend + ing (Eg. I recommend writing inspirational quotes on your chalkboard.)
  • Why not + base verb...? (Eg. Why not write your grocery list on the board?)
  • If I were you, I would ...

a blank slate: someone or something that is in its original state

*This image is of the chalkboard in my front hall. I change the quotes on it regularly. I also have a chalkboard in my garden. 

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Tags: should, suggestions

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Comment by Nafis on June 7, 2013 at 20:31

Dear Tara, why your kids should wait before drawing on the chalkboard surface?

Comment by Expector Smith on May 3, 2013 at 0:02


Thanks for all the nice idioms - I just learned some useful idioms from your replies. Try to keep it up - use many more idioms in your writing for us to learn. Make sure you're using idioms that are popular or frequently used by native English speakers - we'd appreciate it.

As for the "play hooky" question, I agree with you there. Here in China, parents are trying to reduce their children's the "leisure time" now that there is this fierce competition among students.

Another question: dropout?  Dropping out of college or school is totally unacceptable here because even if you have got a college degree you aren't guaranteed a good job here. Parents here tend to think if their children fail in school or college their children's life will be so miserable, even though the parents know there's this successful legend of Bill Gates, a Harvard dropout.

So, they tend to think home is definitely not school. That may not be the case in developed country where children aren't growing up in a so intense competition.

Comment by ⊱ Mickey ⊰ on May 2, 2013 at 5:41

Yes, Tara! I also like that game! Lol, now your kids and their friends can play 'teacher and students' game together! That's exciting! ;-)

Comment by Tara Benwell on May 1, 2013 at 14:39

_☺۩ Teko ۩☺_ Wow! You are very strict! :) My kids would never go for a system like this. I think I'd be out on the streets. Ha!

Comment by Tara Benwell on May 1, 2013 at 14:36

@Faraz Thanks for your excellent writing sample! I think many members will get a kick out of it. They will learn some great ways to make suggestions.

Actually, the kids painted the wall themselves, so they will have to repaint if they scratch it. Furthermore, they will have to pay for more paint out of their own pockets. Chalkboard paint comes in a tiny can and costs an arm and a leg

Comment by Tara Benwell on May 1, 2013 at 14:34

@Anizaq I don't think my daughter will want me to use the chalkboard wall as a To Do list. But, I'm sure when the basement gets messy I will do just that! :) 

Comment by Tara Benwell on May 1, 2013 at 14:33

@Mickey Thanks for your ideas! The kids love playing school, so I think the stage will double as a school. Isn't it funny that kids like to pretend they are at school? I loved playing school and library when I was a kid. 

Comment by Tara Benwell on May 1, 2013 at 14:26

@Lynne Too bad this chalkboard wall isn't magnetic! I am sure there will be many presentations on this stage. The kids will have somewhere to practise their school presentations, too. 

Comment by Tara Benwell on May 1, 2013 at 14:25

@Expector My son loves to draw. Today he wanted to stay home from school to draw (just on paper). He begged me to let him, and I almost gave in except that I have a meeting this morning so I need a quiet house. Should a parent let her child play hooky in a situation like this? I'd be interested in your opinion!

Comment by Tara Benwell on May 1, 2013 at 14:22

@vvquang I love this idea! My daughter is big on riddles. 

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