To her credit, she has been reminding me. I just keep forgetting to buy it. I mean it is not as if we haven’t had several opportunities in the past week. So when my daughter asked me again if we had any paper she could use for sketching. She got the same answer. No, we don’t. I have suggested, more than once, that she use her imagination and find something else until we can get her some.
This morning she asked again. I’m fairly certain she knew what my answer would be. I hadn’t left the house since the last time she asked. But I didn’t say that. I’m only allowed a certain number of smart-aleck remarks a day and it was too early in the day to throw one away.
I did remind her though—again—that she should try finding something besides paper on which to sketch.
I have been. I’ve been using paint swatches, empty Harris Teeter bags. Oh and Dad, I want to show you something.
She darted up to her bedroom and was back down in less than a minute with…
a shoe box?
The top of the box was covered with unique designs and shapes that she had sketched. Suddenly, my brain went in to entrepreneur/future-career-for-my daughter mode. Am I the only who does that?
Visions of my daughter creating designer shoe boxes appeared. She loves to draw, sketch and doodle. Why not get paid to do something she loves? She agreed that being a graphic designer would be great.
Then I’d have to get my ‘back to reality’ job.
Wait a minute.
Think quickly Jon.
And that’s when it hit me. The night before, I had purchased Jeff Goins’ latest book, Real Artists Don’t Starve. I had only read the introduction and the first chapter. But that was enough to give me some good information to share with my daughter. I let her know that, contrary to what most people think, Michelangelo was a millionaire. That the whole starving artist image was just a myth.
As I mentioned, I have only just started reading the book. And while I think I piqued my daughter’s interest—or at the very least—was able to prevent my daughter from postponing her dream job for a bit. I need to finish the book. Like tonight.
I need to have better answers, better reasons and more to say the next time she even hints at not pursuing her dream job. The thought of her having to settle for a back to reality job saddens me. But it is what our educational system is doing to children. I witness it first hand with the students I serve and today—with my daughter.
My son is 6 and still believes that he can be an Army Scientist. One of my best friends is 35 and just released an album he’s been dreaming about for years. I will be 47 in a few weeks and while I don’t have my dream job—yet—I’m getting closer each day.
Why did I not buy drawing paper the last time I was out? I had every opportunity.
Why did I buy Jeff’s book last night? It was released a month and a half ago.
Why did my daughter make the comment she did? She could have said anything.
But she didn’t. She let me know that there is much work left to do. No child should ever give up on their dream job. And the more I think about it—neither should any adult.
This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away.
None of us are ordinary.
None of us.
* Dreamcatcher by Devon Beck (Song from my friend’s new album that you need to listen to. More than once.)
* Why the Story of the Starving Artists Need to Die by Jeff Goins (I’m betting this piece will make you want to buy the book)
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