Last night I posted this on FaceBook:
And holy MOLY society, would everyone PLEASE STOP telling children they can never make any money being an artist?! First off, it is freaking NOT TRUE, and second, you’re SQUASHING THEIR SOULS.
The situation that caused me to write it was a moment that happened after a presentation of mine to fourth graders in a school in LaGrange, Georgia yesterday. A fourth grade teacher came up to me, and as she began talking, her eyes began welling up with tears. She said, “As I sat here listening to you, I so wished that my sixth grade daughter was here to listen too. She is so talented, – very, very talented. This kid can draw, I mean really draw. And she reads and writes all the time. It is her passion. She is GOOD at it. But just the other day she told me, ‘Mom, I need to figure to what to do for a real job. Everyone knows you can’t make money as an artist.’ “
I could see it broke this mother’s heart that despite the fact that she supported her daughter and her dreams, society had already deemed her dream as unrealistic. In sixth grade. Eleven years old. Told to give up before she even started. What might the world lose if this child does not get told a new message? What amazing creation might we ALL lose out on?
And it made me so flippin’ angry. And I’m not just angry for the children that want to be artists. I’m angry for any child that has a dream that society deems not realistic or practical. So I had to write this letter society because I see these faces every day – the faces of the souls you are squashing and I need to tell you something.
When you say to a child, “That’s not practical. Find something realistic to do with your life.” what you are really saying is, “Your passion is not worthy, your dreams are not valid.“
When you say, “What’s your back up plan?” you are saying, “I don’t believe in you.”
When you say, “An artist? Have fun starving!” you are saying, “The world won’t value you or your talent.”
When you say, “Being an adult is no fun, enjoy it now, kid.” you are saying, “The world will wipe you of your passions and dreams one day, and that is okay with me.”
None of this is okay. And we need to stop. The message these children are getting is just WRONG. How do we forget that these children are our future? They can make this world more amazing, more wonderful, more magical if we give them PERMISSION to do that and actually TELL THEM THAT THEY CAN. How about we predispose them to success instead of failure? Expect them to fulfill their dreams, maybe?
Love and kisses,
How about we all try this instead:
This world is a hard place sometimes. And it is not fair sometimes. And you will have to make money to live it this world – that is just a reality. Life is hard work no matter what. Do not expect anyone to hand you what you want in this life or to make it easier. No one, and I mean no one, is going to do the hard work for you to get that thing you want, to have that life you want.
But here is the part everyone forgets to tell you. When you work hard towards what you LOVE, doing what you are PASSIONATE about, what you think about all day every day whether you want to or not? It turns into something AMAZING. And all that hard work, does not feel hard at all. It feels…more like…heart work. And it makes you feel like a SUPER-HERO. It makes your life feel MAGICAL.
I am not saying it is going to be EASY, but I am saying it is going to be WORTH IT.
You may have to work some extra side jobs for a while to pay those darn bills while you are pursuing your passion. You may have to stay up late at night finishing a project, or a painting, or practicing. You may get tired at times. You may get cranky at times. You may get so frustrated that you want to cry at times. You may even want to quit at times. But if you keep going, if you follow that little whisper in your heart, the one filled with all the good ‘what ifs’ and the dreams and the joy? I can promise you something, I can PROMISE you, if you keep going? It will be WORTH it. And you WILL be able to make a living at it.
And that life? The one YOU created, will feel so amazing and so magical that you will expect glitter and sparkles to come out of your fingertips as you talk and move your hands. You will want to tell as many people everywhere to do what you did -to follow their hearts and their dreams, because it is truly so wonderful and you will want that for everyone you see. Everywhere.
And the more people that get convinced? The more people that try? The more people that begin living their magical lives? The more magical our WHOLE world becomes.
So child, please, PLEASE go after that wild, unrealistic, non-practical, crazy dream inside your heart. We need you to do that and we believe you can. We believe in you so very, very much.