What I love most about photos it that when taken at the right moment it captures a most perfect moment. Recently, I snapped this picture of my husband teaching my son how to use his pencil to get different shades and effects when drawing. After snapping the photo, this Pablo Picasso quote came to mind:
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Since then the quote has been a constantly on my mind and I started to question, how I, as a parent, could nurture the artist in my children so that they maintain it into adulthood? Being the logical person that I am, I thought first things first ‘what IS the definition of artist?’
According to the Urban Dictionary, I kid I kid! Though I shouldn’t knock Urban Dictionary, because it’s someone’s ‘art’, how weird is that concept? I dread the day when that becomes our actual point of reference. Anyway, according to Webster’s Dictionary an artist is someone who ‘professes or practices an imaginative art; one who is adept at something’.
After further research, I consistently found that art is about being free and creative and that art is a lifestyle. That was the easy part, the hard part followed ‘so what CAN I do as a parent to encourage this imagination, creativity and lifestyle?’
Here’s my plan:
1) Quit the nagging: Yup…you read right. I vow to stop nagging them about acting more ‘mature’, to stop asking questions (have to admit, this one will be hard because they ask sooooo many questions). As much as I’m aware that they’re still children, sometimes I expect them to act older than they are to make social situations a bit easier on me. I’m going to be more considerate of the social settings that I put them in and go easier on them when they act their age.
2) Expose them to more art: Too often they’re wrapped up in their technology that even if we’re out exploring the city and the art around us, they’re present, but not really ‘present’. I’ll encourage them to see, feel, listen, even feel the art around them and then ask them questions about it to get their minds thinking about the experience
3) Allow them to express themselves: Within reason of course, because kids can push the envelope. This is important, because I want them to be them and not a copy of me or their dad, a cousin or a friend. I want them to be Isaiah Wright and Noah Wright. I’ll give them some rope to make decisions about their style, their individuality. And if that means buying orange shoes, then so be it. Coincidentally, this DID happen to me the other day.
4) Encourage them to live out loud: We all want our kids to be successful and often times we gauge that success by how many ‘figures’ they can make pursuing a specific career. But I want my kids to do what they love and not necessarily what they think will make them rich. And if that means one of them wants to ‘play’ for the rest of their life (cause let’s face it, that’s an answer I get often), then we’ll brainstorm together ways in which we can make that happen. Knowing at the end of the day, it’s their life, not mine and, once they’re happy, healthy, well-adjusted citizens of the world, whatever they do is gravy. The key really is encouraging them in their strengths.
But too many adults have had this ‘flame’ snuffed out as children, through no fault of their own, but when we know better we have to do better. The unequivocal curiosity of life, the belief that they can do anything, the joy that they find in little things (like making sounds by putting their hands in their armpits), I never want these things to disappear!
I want them to keep their childlike faith, curiosity and zest for life even into adulthood and I’ll do everything in my power as a mom to make that happen!
Wish me luck…