My four year old wants to be an artist.
He’s said this for the last little while. I’ll point out the various jobs around us; architect, teacher, doctor and yet he insists, no Mommy, I told you I’m going to be an artist.
How many of us had blue sky dreams like this? Dreams matched with the certain assuredness that a four year old possesses. It may as well be written, for him.
Children carry a sense of fearlessness about them. I don’t mean the kid who runs into traffic or grabs the lonely Chef’s knife (though mine did both.)
A fearlessness that’s scary and at the same time full of wonder.
This fearlessness pairs nicely with curiosity, the kind only a child has. Curiosity that’s limitless; in abundance. Curiosity that’s palpable.
This certitude is sacred, it needs to be nurtured, loved, accepted, and encouraged.
But what about the rest of us who were told what was not possible?
Who were told to have a back-up plan, or that artists are poor, or that another career might suit them better.
Good intentions masked in guidance; in actuality projecting our own fears onto children.
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic” she speaks of moments in childhood where a child’s creative self is severed, those aren’t her words, I’m dramatizing.
The essence of it is the moment when you’re a child and someone tells you that you can’t do it, shouldn’t do it, or don’t deserve to do it.
Maybe it happened when you’re singing out loud and someone cringes or presenting art that’s laughed at or just a cynical grown-up who says, artist isn’t a job.
We’re all creative beings, who can live a creative life – a life full of creative expression – but somewhere along the lines we lose our fearlessness and then curiosity diminishes, too.
Then we say, are you sure you want to be an artist?