Parents Are Teachers Too
Building Big Dreams
When I was very young, I used to love each Christmas time when the special airing of the Nutcracker would be shown on TV. My mom and I would watch Baryshnikov and others dance across the screen and I loved it. I began to dream of what it would be like to dance like that. My mother noticed I was somewhat pigeon-toed and thought that dance lessons would be just the thing to straighten my posture. I loved the classes so very much. My instructor began talking to me about how far behind I was. At the age of 11, I was already years behind girls who had been dancing since they were 5 years old. I worked very hard, exercised often and soon was ready for being measured for my toe shoes. These are very hard to get. They don’t just sell them to anyone off the streets. The salesman makes a girl exercise at the bar in front of him to see if her ankles are strong enough to support her wait “en toe”. If he feels she is not ready, he refuses to sell them to her.
Have you noticed something about your child that dance or gymnastics could help correct? How about scouting for teaching teamwork and reliability? How about getting your child into music or band? Each of these things helps a child to build confidence and self-esteem.
Killing a Dream
I was with a group from the class, who went to get our toe shoes and one of the 8 of us went away without her shoes. I felt so bad for her. That could have been me. By 12 years old I was en toe. That is when I began to talk seriously about pursuing dance as a career. I talked with my instructor about it and she told me that very few make it to “prima” status in the ballet companies but that if I worked hard I could maybe make it. Unfortunately, my father heard me talking about it one day, and he was alarmed. He was a very practical, hard-working man, and he didn’t want to see me pursue something that would end in failure. These dancing dreams, to him were just that, dreams. He told me that dancers are a dime a dozen and I would starve to death trying for something so whimsical. Since he couldn’t take away my love of dance, he took away my lessons. By 13, I found myself practicing with my toe shoes, all alone in my bedroom. I tried to be persistent but soon lost the drive.
Are you teaching your child that he can or that he can’t? I realize that my dad was saving me from a possible heartache, but sometimes you have to let your children chase a dream. It just might become something special.
I took art in high school and loved it. It soon became my voice. People would approach me and ask if I had drawn that, and I would smile and nod. They asked if I was a real artist, and I would smile and nod. What a wonderful voice I found. It attracted attention and spoke all I wanted to say for me. I began to dream big dreams again of becoming a great artist that people came from all over the world to see. I wanted to paint masterpieces that sold for millions; illustrate books that encouraged children to learn to read more. It wasn’t long before my Dad heard me dreaming again and was again alarmed. Artists don’t make any real money until they die, he told me. He was sure again, I was going to starve to death. The compromise we struck was he would pay for college if I took courses that could help me get a job. Secretarial courses, specifically. And I could take an occasional art class too. However, he noticed that I was very in love with the art. So once again he did what he could to discourage me from this art thing. He stopped paying for college. I managed to get my two-year degree later but he didn’t even come to the graduation.
To Dance To Dream
How do you handle your children’s poor choices? I don’t know if there are any right answers. I tried all these and if one worked it was dumb luck.
Save Someone's Life Today
I have loved working with the senior citizens in my community. It started as simple watercolor classes but turned into art therapy. There is something very calming about petting the paper with paint, like petting a puppy. I have used some of the same lessons as I used with the children. Not that seniors are childish, but they have some of the same skill levels, but they are not in such a rush to finish. Seniors like to take their time and enjoy the process. There have been studies that show that the painting process helps lower the blood pressure, and improves eye-to-hand coordination. It has the added benefit of giving the elderly something to look forward to and builds their self-esteem because they have art to take home afterward.
One family member of a lady who paints with me told me that I had saved her mother’s life. She explained that her mother was just sitting in her room with nothing to look forward to but what was on the television. They were afraid there would soon be another funeral if they didn’t get her out to meet people and find something to do. Now she won’t let anything get in the way of her painting time. I was humbled and touched by her kind remarks. Who knew art could do all that? I’m sure my Dad didn’t know art could do that.
4 Ways Parents Teach Kids that Consent Doesn't Matter
Looking to the Future
The future of literature is going more and more toward digital venues. But that doesn’t change the fact that books will always need interior illustrations and cover illustrators, even digital ones. Illustrators just need to be flexible and adaptable to the digital market, keeping knowledge of traditional drawing skills and methods. I think Dad would be impressed.