“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart, one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” – Marvin J. Ashton
“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.” – Emile Zola
All parents want their children to be successful, and when a child shows interest in an artistic field we want to nurture that gift. Gone are the days, however, when little Mozarts were content to sit and practice for hours on end. Today’s children have the attention span of a gnat. They are repulsed by the very idea of hard work, and they want instant results or they give the whole thing up.
So how do we nurture our child’s Inner Picasso?
Trust me, I’ve gone through this with my own kids and my students both. Here are a few guiding principles I’ve picked up along the way:
1.) Let It Be Their Idea – I desperately wanted my kids to take piano lessons from me, but neither showed much interest. I tried to make them learn a few things, but this zapped the fun out of it. I eventually gave up. But now, after watching me play for various functions, my five-year-old son can’t stop trying to play. “Look, Dad! I’m playing my skills!” he will cry with glee. Now that he’s begging me to teach him, the time is finally right.
2.) Celebrate Every Small Victory – Kids want to achieve, they want to feel like an overnight success. Our job is to push them toward excellence while making them feel like a star. Don’t ever praise your child for a job half done or work that isn’t truly good. But when they do get it right – they find Middle C without help or draw a gorgeous circle – celebrate like there’s no tomorrow!
3.) Reinforce the Idea that Hard Work Produces Great Rewards – This is the tough part, but it’s where the rubber meets the road. Eventually your child is going to face a hurdle in their artistic journey that seems very difficult. They can take the easy way out and give up, or they can work through the difficulty and start to blossom as an artist. Our job is to prepare our children for these moments, helping them to see that on the other side of the challenge lies great success. How can we do this? By sharing stories of real artists who overcame hardships, by talking about the importance of working hard at our craft, and by demonstrating this principle ourselves. Why should they put in the work if we’re not willing to do it first?
Nurturing your budding artist won’t be easy, but it will be well worth it. Let’s inspire the next generation to make this world a more beautiful place – one painting, one speech, one song at a time!
Today’s post is part of the A-to-Z Challenge, where participants commit to posting one article for each day during the month of April – one for every letter of the alphabet.
Check back here at “The Artistic Christian” for a daily slice of art (art reviews, practical tips, and motivation for artists), all steeped in a rich Christian worldview.